Richard Klipin Looks Back on Seven Years Running the FSC

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It was a chance chat over a coffee with FCS chair Rob Flanagan in 2016 that led to Richard Klipin becoming the organisation’s CEO.

“I didn’t realise it was a job interview,” says Klipin. “But Rob and I connected on our shared vision of what the role of a professional body should be. At the time the FSC was in a tough space.

“I just saw a crying need for a professional body that represented the sector and brought the community together.”

But after seven years in the top job, running several annual conferences, and navigating the organisation through the Covid years, Klipin and his family agreed it was time to return to their native Australia.

Richard Klipin.
Richard Klipin.

“We’re proud Australians and we are proud Kiwis,” says Klipin. “But seven years running the FSC is a pretty good run. It was the right time to hand the baton onto someone else.”

During his time in New Zealand Klipin shared some of the key changes he’s seen.

“When I arrived here in 2016 the country was on the journey of review from the Financial Advisers Act,” he says. “There was a dramatic change driven by regulation, higher standards, greater levels of accountability and trust for the adviser community.”

While he’s pleased to see the country’s Kiwi Saver fund grow to $100bn, he hopes the Government will mandate Kiwi Saver contributions. He’s worried about low levels of risk insurance across the country though.

The country is dreadfully under-insured…

“The country is dreadfully under-insured,” he says. “For many people plan B is ‘it’s not going to happen to me’, and for others they rely on a Give-a-Little donation page,” he says.

“There is a really important role in the sector to improve financial literacy, helping New Zealanders understand that life is beautiful, but life has pitfalls, twists and turns…And being prepared is really important.”

Turning to recent regulatory changes, Klipin says the balance is exactly right, and puts this down to the willingness of all parties to engage and agree on what’s right for all New Zealanders.

However, he concedes financial advisers are still on a journey…

“The journey in the advice community is one that we are still on, which is around the trusted role that advisers have with their clients,” he says. “To build that trust it is about who you are and what you do.

“It’s also about your studies, your credentials, the way in which you run your practice…But I do think the advice community has influenced the regulatory and political outcomes. There is a lot of power in standing together. There are 10,000 advisers in New Zealand, that’s a mighty large community.”

Among the highlights Klipin is quick to remember is building an organisation that matters, that has purpose, focus, and passion.

“Back in 2021 we changed the purpose of the organisation from being the voice of the sector to one that helps Kiwis with their financial confidence and wellbeing,” he says. “We are here for all Kiwis, we are not just here for the sector.

“We didn’t understand it at the time, but that change was revolutionary as it has taken us into so many conversations and so many different sides of the table.”

Klipin has accepted the CEO role at the National Insurance Brokers Association and describes the timing as “serendipitous”.

“It happened very fast,” he says.

See our report: Haydee Stroud Appointed FSC Acting CEO