New CEO Outlines Priorities


The newly appointed chief executive for Financial Advice New Zealand was announced last week (see: New CEO Announced…).

Former Member of Parliament, Katrina Shanks, will take on the role from 5 June and says she is looking forward to take New Zealand on a journey exploring financial advice and how it can help New Zealanders make better choices in their lives.

“I have a strong public service driver to who I am and so I was fortunate enough to be able to serve the public being a Member of Parliament and help people in that process,” said Shanks.

Incoming Financial Advice NZ CEO, Katrina Shanks

“I see financial advisers as an important role in ensuring New Zealanders have got an awareness of what financial advice is but more importantly that financial advice can improve the financial health of all New Zealanders,” she said.

Shanks outlined three priorities she will focus on once she begins leading the new association:

  1. Communication: Establishing a clear and transparent form of communication with members on weekly or fortnightly basis;
  2. Promotion to the public: Such as developing an initial awareness campaign about what financial advice is;
  3. Advocacy: Identifying policy areas that can be developed further and advocated for the change, such as opportunities with KiwiSaver to increase savings in NZ.

She said financial advisers are the professionals with the skills to be able to assist New Zealanders in making good financial choices, which in turn helps move their families, their communities and their society ahead as a whole.

“I think having people with the skills to be able to help you make those decisions are invaluable,” she said.

Shanks explained there are many crossovers between her new role and her former position as CEO of the Funeral Directors Association of NZ, as both are membership-based organisations.

“I understand the importance of membership and the importance that members feel of value in their membership when they belong to an industry association like this one,” she said.

She said understanding the importance of advocacy is also crucial. “I worked very closely with the decision and policy makers and sat on all of the tables for the cross agency groups which impacted our sector, to ensure that we were sitting with the policy and decision makers and not commenting on what they were doing,” Shanks explained.

“For me, I think a lot about, holistically, what life can look like and how we get the best value out of our lives.”

Over the past few years in her career, Shanks said she has thought a great deal about how a better work-life balance can be achieved.

“I think many of us who are in our 40s plus have been on a travolator for a very long time and we drive ourselves to do better and sometimes we leave behind that work-life balance in doing that,” she explained. “I think the next generation coming through actually is opening our eyes to how we can make that balance look better.

“For me, I think a lot about, holistically, what life can look like and how we get the best value out of our lives,” she said.