Financial Advice New Zealand news

Everything you need to know about Financial Advice New Zealand

Facts as of 2019

  • Established: 2018
  • 4 Member Advisory Committee sectors
  • CEO: Katrina Shanks
  • HQ: Wellington

About Financial Advice New Zealand

Financial Advice New Zealand (FINANZ) was established in 2018 by three founding bodies – the Professional Advisers Association (PAA), Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) and New Zealand Financial Advisers Association (NZFAA). The organisation aims to be ‘a unified voice’ for financial advisers to ‘make a stand where their interests could be better served.’

The combination of three professional bodies aims to streamline how the financial advice sector articulates itself when influencing decision making and policy. According to FINANZ, its main methods of working towards its vision are the following:

  • Representing the interests of the public offering a voice for quality advice and supporting quality advisers.
  • Representing the interests of its members and ‘championing the role of quality advice’, raising awareness of the benefits of that advice and invigorating pride and trust in the adviser profession.

FINANZ plays an important role in lobbying Ministers to ensure the voices of financial advisers are heard when it comes to important policy decisions affecting adviser businesses, and it also focuses on promoting professional development, business skills and technical skills as well as spreading public awareness of the benefits of advice.

Member Adviser Committees

FINANZ has four Member Advisory Committees (MACs) representing the insurance, investment, financial planning and lending sectors. These committees represent the interests of their respective sectors, and act as advisers to the CEO and board of FINANZ on the biggest issues facing the industry.

Marks of quality

FINANZ offers a number of accreditations and ‘symbols of excellence’ for advisers who have been assessed against the organisation’s standards and successfully achieved certification.

The Quality Service Mark is a framework that evidences the professional standards of its advisers, and aims to become ‘a recognisable symbol of quality and standards – a symbol that New Zealanders can trust when seeking advice.” The QSM is available to all qualifying FINANZ members.

The QSM framework consists of six key elements:

  • Professional promise
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Third party references
  • Professional development
  • Advice process review
  • Experience

According to the organisation, the QSM essentially acts as a ‘warrant of fitness’ for advisers and must be reviewed every three years.

FINANZ also offers the Certified Financial PlannerCM (CFP) and Certified Life UnderwriterCM (CLU) marks, which are offered to financial planners and chartered life underwriters respectively and ‘represent the highest achievement within the profession.’

Becoming a member

Membership with FINANZ comes in several tiers according to the adviser’s level of qualification and practice.

  1. A practitioner member with CFP or CLU designation is an adviser who has attained a diploma, or higher, in Personal Financial Planning or Personal Risk Management or other approved qualification, with a minimum of three years’ industry experience, and who has undertaken 12 months of supervised experience.
  2. A practitioner member with QSM is an adviser who has a minimum of three years’ industry experience and attains an advice-process and member check every three years.
  3. A practitioner member is an adviser whose professional development is compliant with the Code of Conduct, and maintains a minimum of a two-hour annual CPD in ethics, and an annual Professional Development Plan.
  4. The organisation also offers associate membership to those outside the financial services profession including individuals, students and corporate entities.

Member benefits include being listed as a FINANZ practitioner in a publically accessible search, networking and CPD events and peer support. Application for member status can be done through a form on the organisation’s website.

Leadership

The CEO of FINANZ is former National Party MP Katrina Shanks, who was elected to the organisation’s leadership in May 2018.

Shanks had previously run her own chartered accountancy business for seven years and was a management accountant at Westpac, and had more recently sat on the Select Committee hearing submissions on the Financial Advisers Act.

She also spent four years as the CEO of the Funeral Directors Association, a role which she says allowed her to bring significant public awareness to the association and its members.