Rod Severn, the outgoing CEO of industry training body Professional IQ College, is enjoying his first week of (semi) retirement having stepped back from running the business.
While the 68-year-old celebrated his new-found freedom with drinks at Auckland’s The Brit Hotel with industry colleagues and friends last Friday, he will be busy for the next few weeks “working in the background” keeping the college on track until his role can be handed over to what Severn would only say is “a fantastic replacement”.
Severn first retired in 2012 after 30 years in the IT industry, holding senior executive positions in both Australia and New Zealand. However, in 2103, he was tapped on the shoulder by Andrew Kerr and Peter Leitch to manage the Professional Advisers Association (PAA).
“I was asked to return to work on a three-month contract to help manage the PAA as it was then being run by the board,” says Severn. “And here I am seven-and-a-half years later. I have loved every minute of it.”
The PAA merged with other industry bodies to become Financial Advice NZ and was wound up in October 2018. In January 2019, Rod became general manager of the Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand, and in a dual role, CEO of the college.
Severn’s parting comments to the financial adviser community is that “now is the time to embrace the future with both hands”.
“It’s such a big part of life – our finances and the decisions we make,” he says. “New Zealanders need good financial advice – to build financial security, to tick off important life goals, and to simply feel more confident about their financial life.”
Severn says advisers make a real difference in the lives of Kiwis and “…while the challenge inherent in change might not always seem like it, this new era under the new regime is the profession’s opportunity to show that”.
I’m looking forward to seeing the advice profession grow in esteem…
“I’m looking forward to seeing the advice profession grow in esteem and many more Kiwis getting the opportunity to benefit from what advisers have to offer,” he says.
Severn says it has been a pleasure to work with so many advisers and brokers during his time at PAA, IBANZ, and Professional IQ who are “…genuinely focused on improving Kiwi’s financial future”.
He will celebrate his 69th birthday this year and plans to remain professionally active in retirement, with a number of options on the table.
“They say you don’t retire from something, you retire to something,” he says.
“I’m looking forward to getting into community work, I want to spend time fishing, spend more time with my grandchildren, and do all the things that keep your heart and your head healthy.”
However, he plans to take a complete break once a decision has been made on his replacement at the college.
“What a wonderful second act for my career,” he says. “I thank the many talented, dedicated people I’ve had the absolute pleasure to work with. Bravo! And if I stay retired this time, my number hasn’t changed. Cheers and stay in touch.”