I’d like to welcome everyone to our AGM.
Last year was dominated by the review of the Financial Advisers Act and other legislative and regulatory changes. With the shape of the landscape for advisers now confirmed by Government, everyone is turning their attention to implementing the resulting changes into their businesses.
We are already seeing a number of advisers looking to establish a FAP in preparation for 2020, and as a result, the TripleA is fielding some enquiries from members seeking assistance with this. We will continue to direct them to the appropriate resources to help with this.
Strategically, the TripleA is well placed both financially, and in terms of having most of its systems and processes in a tidy state, to take opportunities that arise from the system-wide changes affecting all advisers while at the same time supporting our members.
Behind the scenes this year we took the opportunity to modernise and upgrade our membership database. That was a fairly large project which went live in late 2018 and delivered a range of operational and administrative benefits. It sets us up nicely for the next 4-5 years.
Our PI scheme continues to be fairly central to the TripleA. The key issue we considered during the year was making sure it remains fit-for-purpose under the new legislative regime. Issues such as FAPs and nominated representatives are two matters that have been given consideration, and which remain “on watch”. While it was disappointing for members to shoulder large premium increases for 2019/20, this needs to be set in context against much higher premium increases for other PI schemes along with the small premium reductions our scheme had achieved in the three previous years.
In terms of new services and benefits for members, we rolled out our new scholarship scheme during the year which largely targeted RFAs having to upskill to comply with the new regulations. That initiative has seen a steady uptake. We continue to look at other benefits we can potentially bring to members.
At last year’s AGM, membership was 210 advisers following the exit of the Camelot group from the TripleA. Currently, membership is at 228 which is a satisfactory 8.6% increase. Looking forward, our business plan targets groups of advisers that we believe may be a good fit with the TripleA and we continue to pursue that strategy.
On the financial front, we posted a deficit for the year of $30,920 largely as a result of AMP funding support being reduced. That support ceases entirely in December 2019. In September 2018, the Board approved a strategy to manage this, focused on membership growth, cost reductions and some price increases to offset the impact. The deficit was funded out of cash flows, so our healthy level of reserves remains untouched at this time which provides us with flexibility over the coming years. We received an unqualified audit opinion.
Our business model is to operate as a lean, cloud-based, not-for-profit operation with a low membership subscription for those advisers keen to belong to a professional body. We continue to be well placed to offer value to New Zealand’s financial advisers as we have for the last seventy years.
In summary, it’s been another steady year for the TripleA.
Wayne Smith, Chief Executive