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Consultation opens on draft code of conduct

Press Release – Financial Advice Code Working Group

Consultation is now open on a draft code of professional conduct for people who provide financial advice to consumers.11 October 2018

Consultation opens on draft code of conduct for financial advisers

Consultation is now open on a draft code of professional conduct for people who provide financial advice to consumers.

Code Working Group chair Angus Dale-Jones says the Group has been working to create a workable and robust code that will help ensure the availability and quality of financial advice.

“Our role in developing the Code is to set minimum standards of ethical behaviour, conduct and client care, and competence, knowledge and skill that will apply to anyone who gives financial advice to a retail client,” says Mr Dale-Jones.

“Earlier this year we consulted on the key concepts and high-level approach, which gave us a clear indication of what people wanted to see in the Code. As part of this consultation we also conducted a survey of consumers’ experiences with financial advice, which provided some useful insights on what consumers expect and how a Code of Conduct could improve outcomes for consumers.

“We received a lot of feedback on the need to set robust and achievable competence standards, and have taken this feedback on board. The draft Code proposes to set competence equivalent to the learning outcomes in the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5), approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in 2014.

“We have also taken a principles-based approach to ensure the Code is flexible and works for all the different types of businesses that provide financial advice, including small firms.

“We’re now seeking feedback on the draft Code, and want to hear from people about what they think of the proposed standards and how they will work in practice.

“We want to encourage feedback from all parties who will be affected by the Code, including anyone who is representative of the financial advice industry as well as consumers of financial advice. We will be holding a live chat session during the consultation period and people can also submit feedback via our online submission form,” says Mr Dale-Jones.

The Code is technology-neutral and will apply to robo-advice, as well as financial advice given by people. It sets out 12 proposed standards and supporting commentary. It includes requirements to treat clients fairly and act in their interests, act with integrity, manage conflicts of interest, take steps to ensure the client understands the advice, give advice that is suitable for the client and meet standards of competence, knowledge and skill.

The Code will sit within a wider regulatory regime that will include statutory duties, disclosure requirements and licensing. These changes are being introduced through the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill.

Further information, including the draft code and link to the online survey is available at www.mbie.govt.nz/cwg.

Consultation closes on Friday, 9 November 2018.

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