Mortgage Adviser of the Year
Grant has been married to Vanessa for the past 30 years, and the pair has three children all of whom are now gainfully employed – but they are not quite empty nesters as yet!
He loves a good game of golf but doesn’t get to play as often as he would like. Grant enjoys watching most sports but particularly enjoys Rugby and Rugby League.
Grant has been a Mike Pero Mortgages Franchisee since November 2000.
JB left a cushy job with ANZ as General Manager Products and set up Squirrel in 2008 just as the housing market crashed. Not exactly good timing! Squirrel ran out of money in its first 4 months (due to JB's overly optimistic and naive business plan.) Borrowing more money from family and consulting to banks during the day and brokering at night they managed to pull through. Squirrel went on to write $50m in its first year and is writing over $250m a year today. He has won the Allied Kiwi NZ Mortgage Broker of the year for the past 5 years running.
Paul came from China and to New Zealand in 1998.
He went to Nelson Boys’ College and studied Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting in Nelson.
After coming to Auckland, he started his career as a mortgage broker in 2003 and incorporated Mortgage Success in 2006.
Paul loves soccer, especially a big fan of English Premier League. I am married and have four-year-old twin boys.
I was the regional broker of the year for North harbour and northland for 2010 and 2011.
Insurance Adviser of the Year
Dean has been in the insurance industry for over 14 years and branched out on his own in 2003. In February 2008 he went through a full rebranding process which was the inception of BRAVEday.
Dean’s philosophy is to offer a holistic approach to personal and business insurance, from the best advice and service to managing the whole process for clients, with a real focus on being there at claim time.
The thing he is most proud of is BRAVEday’s 100% claims records – due to a focus by Dean and his team taking care of the small details up front. All decisions at BRAVEday are driven by ‘when’ the client is going to claim, not ‘if’.
Dean considers that a key ingredient in his success is working with a talented team who are experts and focus on their strengths in their daily roles. Over the past 10 years the company has grown from a one man band working from home, to a staff of seven, working out of offices based in Birkenhead.
Peter Eschenbach has come full circle within the personal insurance sector returning to an individual risk advice role after many years of being in corporate sales management, training and consulting roles both in New Zealand and overseas.
He is a QFE adviser with Farmers' Mutual Group (FMG), based in the Wairarapa but covering a wider territory. He's a Certified Financial Planner, holding a Diploma in Business Studies endorsed in Financial Planning, and has been a long-term member of both PAA and IFA.
Pete's married to Jane who is an AFA and contracts to FMG as Personal Risk Operations Manager. Separating work from personal life is a battle they've given up fighting!
They have four sons aged between 9 to 14 years and not a lot of spare time right now with the rugby season having started.
Pete loves to meet people and build relationships, and is committed to ensuring his experience and commitment to the regulatory environment translates into a better client experience and quality advice.
Investment/KiwiSaver Adviser of the Year
Dave is in the business of helping people build and protect their wealth. For over a decade he has helped mums and dads as well as trusts manage their investments - anything from a $10,000 deposit to a $5 million portfolio. He lives by the mantra to "Invest your money like it's my money".
Dave is a shareholder in Allfinanz and operates from their Lower Hutt office. More recently also helped develop an online KiwiSaver comparison tool www.kiwiselect.co.nz to help New Zealander's with their KiwiSaver planning.
Barbara has been a financial planner, specialising in investments, for over 20 years. Her first foray into the investment world was when she worked for the ANZ Bank, spending 30 years with them, the latter 12 employed as an Investment Adviser. Barbara was fortunate in being able to study and complete a PostGrad Diploma in Personal Financial Planning at Waikato University which the ANZ paid for, provided the advisers passed the papers. Barbara graduated from Waikato in October 1999.
Eight years ago Barbara left the ANZ to join Jim Strang in business and they worked together in Christchurch as Financial Advisers and have a good business offering not only investments but also risk as well as mortgages.
Recently Barbara left Christchurch and moved to Nelson to continue with their client base in the Marlborough and Nelson regions.
Tom started working in the financial industry in 1996 part time with Prudential while completing a Diploma in Business Studies and Management, then became a financial adviser in 2000, now an Authorised Financial Adviser.
Tom is currently the Managing Director of Pension Transfers Limited, Director of Global Footprints and KiwiSelect Limited, offices based in Lower Hutt, Wellington.
Tom works with Mark Solomon who is also active in the business as a fellow Director.
Since 2005 Tom has grown the business to be one of New Zealand's largest Pension Transfers businesses transferring over $200m.
He has been a member of the Royal Wellington Golf Club since the age of 12 playing off a 7 handicap and a father of 3, oldest just turned 4.
PAA Excellence Award
Special Acknowledgement to a valued PAA Member:
Gary Solomon celebrated 50 years in the financial services industry in January this year.
Gary started his insurance career in January, 1963 with National Mutual.
From 1963 to 1985 Gary worked with Yorkshire General, General Accident and MLC. In 1985 MLC were taken over by NZI and Gary worked with them until 1997, when Prudential took NZI over.
This was the opportunity to establish Crest Financial Brokers, trading as Allfinanz, with his son Mark. Both had a vision to establish a corporate model and it now employees over 40 people.
In 2009 Allfinanz picked up the inaugural PAA Business Award.
Over the past decade Gary has been a shareholder in icon company's like LifeDirect and Allied Kiwi and has been a mentor and coach to dozens of advisors.
Outside of work Gary has given his time generously to the community and sport. A Wellington Cricket representative, New Zealand U23 Cricket member, and Premier Rugby Union player Gary has assisted many young players in their careers. He was recognized as a life member of The Hutt Cricket Club in 2003.
Gary's honest and disciplined approach to business has seen him respected within his peers and clients, some of which have been with Gary for over 40 years.
Gary is married to Marlene and in September this year celebrate 45 years of marriage.
Insurance Readability Review
In May 2012 Quality Product Research Limited launched an insurance research service in conjunction with www.quotemonster.co.nz. As part of that service we consider whether a policy is easy to read.
Making a policy easy to read is not yet a focus for New Zealand insurers but we think that they may come to be so. Many large companies have standards for readability of documents to ensure signs or manuals can easily and quickly be read by clients and staff. In some places there are legal limits on how hard to read a policy can be (such as this one, in Florida).
Clear policy wordings are only part of the process. Clients may need more help to understand the cover that they have. They may need advice to get the right amount of cover, of the right type. That process may include the advice from a good adviser. But looked at another way, if there is no need to make it hard to read, why do it?
Some insurers find it possible to write more clearly than others.
Looking at just life cover, four out of the top nine insurers, have a Flesch Reading ease level lower than 45. Five have averages that are higher.
The easiest to read life policies are offered by Partners Life, TOWER, and Sovereign.
Score also isn’t directly related to product complexity: one of the most complex is very easy to read.
Although the averages hide some big differences. Many clauses are simply written, and some are more complicated.
Four insurers have some sections of their policies that score lower than 15 making them very difficult to read. All insurers have some sections in their policies that score lower than 30. Interestingly, it isn’t all the same clauses: some companies can explain a concept much more clearly than others.
We use the Flesch Reading Ease scale. The formula for the Flesch Reading Ease score is:
206.835 – (1.015 x ASL) – (84.6 x ASW)
ASL = average sentence length (the number of words divided by the number of sentences)
ASW = average number of syllables per word (the number of syllables divided by the number of words)
We score policy features and give advisers the option of adjusting them based on readability. We do not adjust the scores unless the adviser selects to do so. The use of third-party research in the sale of insurance is still quite new; therefore we have focused on main definitions first. When selected the scores are adjusted according to the following table:
Flesch Scores and Impact
· The Flesch score of this information sheet is: 61.6
· Or call (09) 480 9535 and speak to Kelly Pulham.
· This report was written using QPRV52d.mdb on 15 January 2013.
Online surveys are voluntary. That is an important reason to take the results with some caution. But I would expect that advisers who do not believe that qualifications should apply would not be shy of voting 'no' in the recent Quotemonster straw poll. This is the result:
Bear in mind that Quotemonster advisers are typically RFAs, and so they are saying that they believe that qualifications are important.
They are also, however, the best part of the RFA market: they believe in providing a genuine choice to consumers - otherwise they wouldn't bother with a comparison service. Based on our workshops we have found them interested in developing robust statements of advice.
I suspect, although I do not know for certain, that a majority already have a level five qualification - as many chose to be 'regulation ready' without stepping into the AFA regime.
Once they have agreed to enter the advice process, most clients are happy for advisers to lead: defining what information to collect, how to analyse, and what to recommend. Some are difficult: immediately severing important areas of their financial lives and marking these off as taboo, or worse they specify just one area of work:
"I only want mortgage protection insurance"
It sounds specific, but given there is no fixed definition of "mortgage protection" it is actually a trap. In fact agreeing to such a limited scope may be functionally the same as agreeing to give bad advice.
Unless the boundary for a limited scope of service can be clearly defined there may be no safe way to engage with such a client, and so it might be better to decline the engagement.
If you accept that then you might as well challenge the client to accept a broader scope of engagement. One way to do that is to point out that the client always retains perfect freedom to decide what they will proceed with. So they get the benefit of the whole advice process even if they only plan to proceed with the 'mortgage protection' or the 'life cover' or whatever limited part of the picture they started to define.
Quoting the lowest possible price, when most applicants will pay more, is guaranteed to manufacture disappointment. It also sets up the wrong impression of priority: that price is the most important issue in the process of buying insurance. In fact, it isn't: as virtually everyone pays more than the lowest available price virtually everybody must be prioritising another factor.
That being the case here are the main reasons why premiums usually vary - the client will:
- ...pass a birthday during the underwriting process
- ...receive a loading for a pre-existing condition
- ...be assessed in an occupation class different from that immediately thought of
- ...choose benefits and sum assured levels other than those initially selected
So why is price quoted before a proper advice process is conducted? Usually the client wants to get some impression of what the overall cost could be. That way they know whether they are wasting their time or not. Which is why this is an ideal time to be asking them what their budget for cover is. That way you can have a discussion about what a sensible budget is, and explain to the client what kind of cover can be purchased with the sums they have in mind.
Assuming you st a budget and the client is still keen on obtaining a price early in the process - perhaps because they wish to compare with a price they already have - for existing cover, or a quote issued by a bank, then you might consider some basic pre-screening questions:
- Have you had any sick leave?
- Are you in good health now? If not, why?
- Have you ever had heart trouble, high blood pressure, cancer, or depression?
- Do you smoke? If not, have you ever smoked?
- What is your occupation?
- When is your birthday?
Some advisers would also add: were you asked these questions before being issued the quote you have? It's the obvious next step - as when you issue a realistic quote, with a proper warning about the underwriting process, it will often be more expensive than the quote they are already holding, in which case you should remind them: that quote will probably not take these issues into account.
Which is a good place to start talking about the value of a professional advice process.