The financial advice sector in New Zealand is in the middle of a major transition, and although the process is very new to the majority of advisers, one leader says that a country which has done it all before could be a great resource on how to handle the change.
Astute Financial is an Australia-based broker group which set up in New Zealand last year, and, according to CEO Sarah Johnston, the firm’s Australian parent has been a great help in setting up a lot of its new processes and policies – and it has done this while also being aware that it is dealing with a completely different country and culture.
“Our Australian team has the expertise and the resources, but they also completely understand that we’re New Zealand, and we’re going to do things a bit differently,” Johnston said.
“If something crops up, we can go to our Astute home and ask if they’ve ever dealt with a similar situation – and so we can have access to their documents, policies and procedures, bring them back here and customise them for New Zealand,” she explained. “That saves us a whole lot of time and effort.”
Johnston says that although some of the terminology and processes across the two countries can be quite different, there is a lot that is customisable and adaptable to New Zealand’s coming regime.
“There’s never been any sense of ‘we know what you’re dealing with, and this is the way you have to do it,’” Johnston said.
“It’s been more about them being there, having those systems and processes in place, and being able to help when I’m dealing with something new. But once we’ve designed that policy or system, we can then help them train on it and support us, and there’s never been any pushback about that.
“They understand that they’re supporting two countries who run similar operations, but with slightly different nuances. We speak with our team in Australia each week, and we’re always thinking about how we can find a solution that works for us.”