The late great David Bowie's lyric is particularly apt in the current NZ financial services industry. On the company management front, we say farewell to one of the most respected and best-liked CEO's, Milton Jennings.


The farewell bash Fidelity staged for Milton at Eden Park was fitting recognition of the outstanding contribution made to both Fidelity and to the NZ industry. I'm sure we all watch with interest to see what Milton decides to do next, and I'm equally sure he will have the best wishes from his many colleagues, contemporaries, compatriots, and yes - even his competitors!

In a similar vein, Peter Neilson has left the FSC, a new CEO arrives at Sovereign, John Body moves to a different role within ANZ Bank, a restructure is underway at Asteron, and Sovereign's new "IFA-friendly" distribution strategy, led by Richard Klipin, successor to David Haak, is underway.

If that's not enough, the FMA investigation into the incidence of 'churn' in the  life insurance market is due to report in or around June, and the review of the Financial Advisers Act is due to be presented to the Minister by 1st July - both of which could herald significant changes for the industry.

Another source of constant change for the industry is technology.

I remain a staunch advocate of advisers gaining an understanding of Behavioural Economics and Finance and addressing clients' communication preferences to optimise the adviser/client relationship.

This provides a science-based guide for whatthe different communication frameworks should look like for different clients.

Some months back, I mentioned Suitebox - an innovative technology development demonstrating how advisers can communicate more effectively with clients.

One thing that never seems to change - apart from getting worse - is the traffic congestion in our major cities.

Suitebox provides an online virtual meeting room for advisers to meet with clients, have documents completed, signed, uploaded to CRM, and dispatched - without having to waste time, money, and patience, stuck in these accursed interminable traffic jams!

Or if you happen to be in a rural area, while I'm sure driving a few kilometres to have a client sign a form is a pleasant way to pass an hour or two, it's far from cost-effective and can easily eat into your time, your margins, and your expenses budget.

Have a look at the Suitebox website - free trial period available.

As with all innovations that bring about change, it's the early adopters who get an advantage - the early bird catching the worm etc., etc.

Adopting innovation and adapting to changes in the environment are the keys to survival and success.

As in Darwin's oft misquoted words of wisdom, it's not survival of the fittest or strongest - but of the most adaptable.

Slainte mhath

The Laird