Financial advisers: Here’s how to meet new Code of Conduct requirements  

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If you’re a financial adviser the Financial Services Alternative Pathway for Individuals could be your ticket to making sure you can keep working without having to gain a new qualification.

What you need to know

In March 2021 a new Code of Professional Conduct was introduced for Financial Advice Services. That new code means all financial advisers must demonstrate they have the same skills and knowledge gained in the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (NZCFS), Level 5 Version 2.

The good news is, if you already have the required skills and knowledge, and a different qualification, if applicable, you do not need to go back and re-train. This is where our Financial Services Alternative Pathway for Individuals comes in.

The Code allows for your competence, skills and experience as a financial adviser to be independently assessed and verified as meeting the same outcomes as the NZCFS Level 5 Version 2.

The Financial Services Alternative Pathway for Individuals is this independent verification process. Completing it will ensure you meet the competency requirements of the Code of Conduct.

Why you need to do it

Financial advisers have until March 2023 to to be fully licensed with the FMA, and as part of this need to show they meet the competency requirements of the Code. One of the simplest ways to do that is to apply to Skills to have your work independently assessed and verified.

What you need to do

First check your eligibility. To apply for the Alternative Pathway you need:

  • A minimum of two years’ experience directly advising clients.
  • Knowledge of current New Zealand financial services legislation.
  • To be able to provide two professional references from employers, clients or professional colleagues.

You’ll need to put together a portfolio of evidence that proves you are eligible. This includes:

  • Three complete client files and a detailed work history.
  • Proof you hold unit standards 31855 and 31858 or proof of attendance at a Skills approved training provider .
  • Two complete referee forms, which can be downloaded here.

Before compiling your evidence and submitting your appication you also need to choose the type of financial advice you are seeking assessment for. You also need to be assessed on core financial services knowledge

If you don’t already hold the above unit standards you will need to gain these through one of training providers.  Check the Skills website for a list of training providers who offer this training.

The assessment

Once you have sent all your information to Skills, your assessor will go through it all to determine if it meets the Code competency requirements. They’ll let you know if they need any more information and will arrange a time to talk to you to get the full insight into your experience, knowledge and skills. The assessor will also talk to your referees.

They’ll then let you know if you have met the requirements. If you have you’ll be sent an official letter which will confirm your competency to the FMA.

If you have not met the requirements your assessor will talk through your options, which may include additional training.

The assessment process will take up to 30 days once all your documents and evidence have been supplied.

Ready to learn more?