What caught the attention of RiskinfoNZ readers this week was our report that financial advisers are giving up 40% of their week to completing admin chores – could this be contributing to the high stress levels AIA NZ says many advisers are facing…?

Speaking during the opening of the FSC’s Future Ready conference in Queenstown, AIA’s Sam Tremethick returned to the company’s research into the mental health of the adviser community saying just 11% of an adviser’s time is spent giving advice.

Pointing to a survey carried out during the September 2021 lockdown, he said some of the key issues raised by advisers included heavy workloads and the stress it caused them.

“Since the survey was carried out we have gone through a number of quasi lockdowns,” said Tremethic, the firm’s Chief Partnership Insurance Officer.

“We have had another few waves of Covid go through the community, we have had investment markets go through correction territory, interest rates have increased, inflation has increased, the cost of living has continued to rise, we have seen the word ‘recession’ in the papers every other day…The environment has not become less stressful.”

Tremethic said the survey revealed that just 11% of an advisers’ time is spent giving advice and that almost 40% of their time is spent doing admin.

Sam Tremethick of AIA NZ.
Sam Tremethick of AIA NZ.

“So the main reason for being an adviser is only 11% of their day,” he said. “And then we wonder why people aren’t enjoying what they are doing.”

Tremethic says 41% of the advisers it surveyed had moderate to high health risks, “that’s twice that of the New Zealand population”.

He also said 44% of the advisers surveyed said stress had impacted their sleep, 20% are seeking medical support, 25% are preparing to leave their job, and half are overworked.

“But what’s causing all this stress?” said Tremethic. “Sixty-one percent say it is regulatory driven. Government regulations and meeting licencing requirements.

“This is not anti-regulatory, AIA supports all regulatory change that will improve the professionalism of our industry.

“But it is a lesson that all parties, be it regulator, manufacturer…We have to be better at making sure we know why we are making the change – and then support people through that change.”

Tremethic says mental health issues among financial advisers is an industry-wide problem, and that plenty of advisers are struggling.

“And that’s not okay,” he says. “To deliver a sustainable and thriving industry we need healthy advisers. A strong adviser community will deliver a strong consumer outcome.”

See: AIA Offers Best Doctors Service to Financial Advisers