2016 - the Year Ahead

Best wishes to all for a stunningly prosperous and successful 2016. From time to time, I wonder why people write blogs instead of just reading them. Indeed, I wonder why I do!

Well, I’ve been around this industry for quite a few years now and I’ve been posting online for well over a year.

I believe in giving voice to issues in the financial services industry.

New Zealand, like many other countries, is in the midst of changes in this space, and the issues should be aired, discussed, and debated. 2016 promises to be no less significant than previous years, and perhaps even more so, with the outcome of the Financial Advisers Act review due to made public by the middle of the year.

The recently released Options Paper contains some interesting and challenging proposals and these need to be tabled for consideration by all stakeholders.

No doubt there will be other regulatory and legislative issues that occupy our minds over the next 12 months, and I intend to comment actively and critically on these issues as they arise.

Aligned to an interest in the advisory industry, the subject of behavioural finance continues to engage and develop. With rapidly evolving technology impacting on the advisers’ business model, I remain convinced that the future lies less in the technical investment or risk knowledge, and more with the ability to understand and manage client behaviour.

The DNA Behavior International Ltd platform provides advisers with an online source of analysing client communication styles, and offers a valuable tool for completing sales, creating introductions, and adding value to the advisory business.

The lack of penetration of financial risk products is evidence of the dire levels of underinsurance in NZ.

The subject of financial literacy, so ably under consideration by David Boyle as the Financial Literacy Commissioner, is also a focus for 2016. The emergence of Life-info Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation established by Brian Klee and myself, will feature prominently in posts this year. The aim of Life-info Ltd is to complement the excellent work carried out by David and his team in the Kiwisaver and investment space, with essential information for consumers in the life insurance and personal risk areas.

Of course, posts are only as relevant as those who read them, and the intended audience of financial advisers, product providers, regulators, and advocates for a stronger, more client-oriented industry, will hopefully find these articles interesting, useful, and valuable.

The avowed intention of continuing to send out these posts is to engage a growing number of individuals and institutions in the issues that face the rapidly changing environment for the providers and distributors of financial products and services.

A more knowledgeable, more aware, and better informed readership may seem like a lofty goal for this humble commentator, but it is nevertheless the aim of each and every item that will be considered over the coming year.

In closing, I repeat the fervent wish that you all have an outrageously successful, prosperous, and happy 2016.

Slàinte mhath

The Laird