Tap Into Employment to Encourage Financial Advice, Says Insurer 


The Managing Director of Partners Life has suggested that the industry turn to employment as a channel to connect people with the concept of financial advice.

Naomi Ballantyne spoke out whilst in attendance at the Financial Services Council’s Breakfast event ‘Advice at the Crossroads’, held yesterday morning at the ANZ Centre.

Partners Life Managing Director, Naomi Ballantyne

The event attracted members of the FSC, dealer principals, compliance professionals, professional advisers and service providers, eager to hear the panellists discuss the big questions facing the industry as it undergoes regulatory change.

The panellists included Graham Rich of Portfolio Construction Forum, Financial Advice New Zealand CEO Katrina Shanks, Rebecca Sellers of Melior Law and Chatswood Consulting’s Russell Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said a big concern for the industry is people being put off from taking financial advice due to current events and public views of failures from financial services companies.

Shanks added that the industry needed to engage the Government to step up.

“We need to go to Government and say ‘we want you to have a bigger conversation with New Zealand – you did amazingly well with Kiwisaver and New Zealanders now think that they’ve made it because they’ve got Kiwisaver’, but actually that’s just a sliver of what financial wealth and health is about,” said Shanks.

But Ballantyne argued that employment may be a better place to start because employees have so much to lose – their income.

“Wouldn’t the first step be to make employers give employees access to advice?”

“Wouldn’t the first step be to make employers give employees access to advice?” she asked. “It doesn’t cost the government anything to do that.”

She added: “If all employees are at least given advice about what happens to them if they lose their income then maybe that’s the start to encouraging advice, without requiring money to be thrown at it by the government.

“Isn’t that a better place to start in terms of encouraging or at least forcing people to, for the very first time in their life, listen to an adviser at a time when it makes sense because they’ve got an income to lose?” she questioned.

“It’s not the whole solution but it would seem to me the start of a solution,” said Ballantyne.

Tapping into the workplace is something that has worked for the health insurance industry, which has grown for its twelfth straight quarter, according to the latest statistics from Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).

Its CEO, Roger Styles, said a large chunk of the growth has come from more people choosing employer-subsidised health insurance as a result of an increased focus on wellness in the workplace.

In his opening presentation as guest speaker, Rich said that what should be keeping advisers up at night is making sure they as individuals in the industry have the following five keys to financial success covered:

  1. Values Based
  2. Ethics Centric
  3. Purpose Driven
  4. Education Committed
  5. Community Spirited

“Those are the things that are far more important to me than top-down regulation – it’s that stuff that fixed manufacturing, mining, mega companies around the world,” he said.