I’d like to welcome everyone to our AGM. It’s been another very solid year for the TripleA with our landscape dominated by the review of the Financial Advisers Act which soaked up a significant amount of Board and CEO time.
We informed last year’s AGM that maintaining our level of reserves and increasing membership would be two of the key focus areas for 2017/18. At the beginning of the year our membership was 191 and by the end of the year it was 237 a very pleasing net increase of 46 members or a 24% lift. I don’t think any other adviser Professional Body has seen a comparative lift in membership.
That success is down to a focus on working with recognised groups of advisers to develop a “membership package” that is attractive to each group. Through the year we were very pleased to welcome the Plus4 group and the OneNetwork group to the TripleA. That focus continues into the current year with the Boutique Adviser Alliance. Discussions are underway with additional adviser groups and although this takes a large amount of work the success to date suggests that this is a model that will work well in the looming regulatory environment.
Subsequently, after balance date, the Camelot Group as a result of their merger with Lifetime exited the TripleA so very sad to see their 35 members depart many of whom had been long term members. Even so membership is currently 210 with another half dozen in the pipeline as I draft this report, so we continue to see a solid background level of growth and enquiries coming through.
The growth in membership vindicates our strategy of working with recognised groups, ramping up our marketing efforts and increasingly focusing on those benefits and services that advisers are prepared to pay for. The results position the TripleA well for the future, but one consequence is that the mix of our membership has moved on, and away from, being primarily ex AXA advisers. That changing mix of membership will continue and the TripleA will need to respond to this.
In terms of our finances we received an unqualified audit opinion. Good membership growth was offset by a reduction in AMP funding of $44k so we posted a small deficit of $5k off turnover of $490k so a satisfactory result.
At last year’s AGM I was asked to review whether PI insurance payments should be paid into a separate trust account. The Board, for a number of years, has retained sufficient levels of reserves in a separate high interest account to more than cover all PI premiums received in advance. In addition, we hold further reserves so given this moving these to a trust account process wasn’t deemed necessary.
On the PI front for the third year in a row the TripleA via AON achieved another 5% reduction in premiums which we passed on to members. Last year, we were also concerned at the relatively low level of Cyber cover uptake so pleasing to see a solid uptick of this now flowing through. The Board has continued to strengthen and undertake reviews of all new applicants into the PI scheme to maintain its excellent claims history.
Looking forward, the TripleA continues to operate and invest in a very lean, cloud-based, not-for-profit operation that allows us to provide a low membership subscription for those advisers’ keen to belong to a Professional Body. That business model sets us apart from others in the industry.
Externally, we continue to quietly expand the range of benefits we provide having just launched our scholarship programme. Our marketing investment will also increase as will engagement with additional adviser groups.
The shape of new legislation and regulation is now fairly clear, and we believe the TripleA is well placed to offer value to New Zealand’s financial advisers under the new regime as we have for the last seventy years.
Wayne Smith, Chief Executive