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Major banks pledge support for advisers

New Zealand’s big four banks have given their support to mortgage advisers in the wake of Australia’s Royal Commission into financial services.

Thursday, March 7th 2019, 6:16AM

Australian-owned lenders ASB, ANZ, BNZ, and Westpac told TMM Online they see clear differences in the New Zealand market, as commission and remuneration looks set for a major shakeup across the Tasman.

The Royal Commission’s Hayne report has prompted a ban on trail commission, while politicians are debating the future of upfront commission. The country’s Labor Party recently suggested a 1.1% fee, but the Hayne report has recommended scrapping most forms of commission entirely.

Now the dust has settled from February’s Hayne report, banks have responded to share their views on the future of the New Zealand adviser market. They were quick to stress underlying differences between the two countries.

An ANZ spokesman said: “We receive very few complaints from customers about advisers, and don’t believe many of the issues raised in the Australian Royal Commission are widespread in NZ.”

The spokesman said advisers offer “more choice for our home loan customers”, adding: “We’re always looking at how we can work with intermediary channels to improve service and advice for customers, and we regularly review adviser commissions to ensure we meet regulator and customer expectations”.

ASB spokeswoman Marise Hurley stressed New Zealand was “very different” to Australia. “Trail commission payments to mortgage brokers are less prevalent in New Zealand than Australia. ASB has a strong relationship with the mortgage broker industry in this country and our aim is to work with brokers to continuously find better ways to work with the industry and our customers in New Zealand.”

Max Bania, a spokesman for Westpac, said it would “take time to consider the findings of the Royal Commission in Australia to identify any matters relevant to New Zealand”, but pointed to “many differences between the New Zealand and Australian banking environments”.

He added: “Here in New Zealand, the FMA and RBNZ have identified some areas that require improvement but have found no widespread or systemic conduct issues.”

BNZ said advisers play “an important role in enhancing competition in the home loan market”. A spokesman added: “The Royal Commission’s final report is comprehensive and considered and we are examining it in detail. We will seek opportunities to learn from the Australian experience as we look for better ways to exceed our customers’ expectations. BNZ supports mortgage broking as an option for New Zealand home buyers.”

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