Adviser council update.

Adviser council update.

Key outtakes from the first nine months.

Meeting #1 - February 2023.

Guest speakers:

  • Russell Hutchinson, Chatswood Consulting Director
  • David Tikao, Ngāi Tahu Holdings Investment Manager Endowments
  • Bronwyn Kirwan, Fidelity Life Chief Sales and Service Officer
  • Billy Miller, Fidelity Life Chief Information Officer

Key discussions:

  • Russell led a workshop around industry trends, and we identified areas for collaboration such as consumerism, technology, law and regulation to support both our adviser community and our valued customers.
    • Challenges such as inflation, household budgets and interest rates were discussed as barriers, and this creates a need for more in-depth conversations with customers.
  • Ngāi Tahu presented on their commitment to financial accessibility for Māori communities and this was highlighted as a core reason for their investment in our industry.
    • David emphasised the need for better dialogue and education in this area to create better access to financial services for more diverse customers.

Key feedback/outcomes:

  • Advisers are having to have difficult conversations with customers. How can providers support in assisting with these conversations?
    • We launched a set of new retention tools to support advisers in retaining your business.
    • Product enhancements launched 23-November to keep up with the changing needs of New Zealanders.

Meeting #2 - May 2023.

Guest speakers:

  • Sam Kelly – Fidelity Life Head of Regulatory Affairs
  • Charlotte Cockrell – Fidelity Life Head of Remediation
  • Michaela Hunter – Fidelity Life Senior Manager, Governance Conduct & Quality

 Key discussions:

  • Financial education: We emphasised the need for further financial education and information from providers for advisers and customers, particularly in the current economic climate. This was fed through to our Customer value team.
  • CoFI: We explored the pathway to embedding CoFI, discussing shared responsibility, fair treatment of customers, and reducing compliance burdens. There was much discussion around having the right systems and processes in place and engaging the right support.
  • Financial Markets Authority (FMA) update: Representatives from the FMA shared their focus and priorities, highlighting the importance of good record-keeping and providing evidence of service, suitability, and fit-for-purpose operations.
  • Sale and purchase of books: We discussed the anticipated intermediary oversight expectations stemming from CoFI and their implications for book transfers. Our goal was to ensure that these transfers undergo robust due diligence, all with a focus on satisfying customer-focused outcomes.

Key feedback/outcomes:

The FMA's expectation is that advisers should be able to service new customers within 12-months, but this raises important questions about capacity and how Fidelity Life can support both our advisers and customers during this transition.

Intermediary due diligence:

  1. What does good due diligence look like? We discussed various factors such as age, product range, demographics, and more, all influencing the decision to purchase a book.
  2. Is regular servicing an important consideration for a book purchase? This section explored the reasons for and against purchasing books that have been regularly serviced.
  3. The role of CRM/record keeping in due diligence: We discussed the significance of file notes and record keeping, emphasizing the importance of understanding clients without preconceptions.
  4. How is persistency considered in due diligence? We explored whether persistency is a fair benchmark and how it relates to the age of customers.
  5. Does the size of the book matter? We considered the impact of the book's size on your business and the capacity to provide service.
  6. Regulatory environment and commission payment: This section delved into options for commission payment when advisers change hands.
  7. Who should have the right to sell a book and should a product provider get involved? We discussed whether the servicing adviser or the renewal adviser should have the right of sale, considering customer needs and preferences.

Product provider due diligence:

  1. Should product providers request a business case/proposal from purchasers? We examined the importance of a business case and the elements that should be included.
  2. Elements to enquire about: We agreed on the key elements that product providers should inquire about when assessing a proposed book purchase/transfer.
    • Adviser council suggestion: An instigation of a pre-approval process for new book acquisition, allowing businesses to act swiftly when a book becomes available for sale within 12 months.

Meeting #3 - August 2023.

Guest speakers:

  • Bronwyn Kirwan, Fidelity Life Chief Sales and Service Officer
  • Mat Bark, Fidelity Life Head of Channel Enablement
  • Jake Coker, Fidelity Life Senior Product Manager
  • Sarah-may Butterfield, Fidelity Life Senior Solutions Manager

Key discussions:

Adviser channel insights.

In a thought-provoking session led by Bronwyn Kirwan, the objective was clear: to share our Board and Executive's thinking regarding adviser perception and investment in the adviser channel. The discussion points covered crucial aspects such as capital availability, growth-focused competitors, balancing short- and long-term strategies, adviser segmentation using data, and customer outcomes.

The primary purpose was to test this thinking for resonance and challenge. The key elements of the Fidelity Life adviser channel plan, priorities, trade-offs, and performance metrics were all under the spotlight and to ensure our actions demonstrated we're committed to creating a deeper understanding. We sought valuable feedback from the Adviser council on these crucial aspects.

Enhancing adviser channels and services.

Mat Bark joined us to provide an update on planned initiatives and a roadmap to enhance our digital channels and services, with a focus on the ease of doing business and the adviser digital experience.

Product enhancements.

Jake Coker shared exciting updates on product enhancements, illustrating Fidelity Life's commitment to keeping our product suite relevant and adaptable to current economic situations and changing customer needs.

Solutions and service.

In our quest to support the future of the advice industry, Sarah-may Butterfield introduced our careers and professional development programme, Adviser edge. This offering builds on the high-value training and experience programme, Career connect designed for new industry entrants, and offers customisable and tailored solutions for advisers at every stage of their career. The focus is on adviser education, strategic development, mentoring, and extension.

Key feedback/outcomes:

We're actively addressing 2 key pain points noted by the Adviser council, for advisers:

  1. Adviser digital experience - Fidelity Life is dedicated to enabling adviser digital channels, improving the experience, building quote and apply capabilities, and enhancing services that support growth.
  2. Ease of doing business - We're striving to make the process less frictionless for advisers and help protect and grow your business.

The E-App, Live chat, and several other milestones are set to transform advisers’ experience with Fidelity Life. We're taking steps to reduce turnaround times (and publishing these monthly), enhance advisers’ ability to track and manage requests, and make communication more efficient.

We've also made progress on E-App functionality, ensuring improved stability, user experience, and integration with UnderWriteMe URE for quicker market updates. These changes include straight-through acceptance, digital signatures, and more. The Adviser council has been involved in the user experience to date. Stay tuned for more improvements.

Fidelity Life are focused on enhancing Monthly mortgage repayment cover, Special events and Future insurability, Key person new to business, Key person for farmers cover, Repatriation benefit, and Trauma stand-down.

One of the highlights from the council was the increase in maximum benefit percentages for Monthly mortgage repayment cover, a change that applies to both MPC and MMR, aiming to better serve your clients.

We conducted a workshop to seek feedback on training topics and engagement methods to enhance business growth and add value. Their insights on workflow management, business strategy, lead generation, and networking, among other topics, are instrumental in shaping our programmes.

Preferred methods of engagement include BM engagement, small group open book sessions, podcasts, facilitated learning, and in person events.

Under the Adviser edge umbrella, Fidelity Life are launching Career connect 2.0, Professional pathways and Advice masters. These initiatives aim to provide personalised training pathways, mentorship opportunities, and deeper engagement for advisers at every stage of their careers.