The financial advisory industry has always had a lot of issues.
And in the 66-page document published this week by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MOBIE) most of those issues are worked through in reasonable detail.
MOBIE even touches on an existential issue at the heart of the matter: "A number of international studies have sought to quantify the value professional financial advice," the paper says. "However the impact of financial advice has proved difficult to measure and results of such studies have not clearly shown whether or not financial advice has led to better portfolio performance or diversity."
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But the government doesn't dwell on this nihilistic point because clearly the industry does exist.
About 1,800 authorised financial advisers (AFAs), 6,200 registered financial advisers (RFAs), and a further 23,000 advisers acting under the control of organisations known as qualifying financial entities (QFEs), have been conjured into being - bureaucratically speaking - by the 2008 Financial Advisers Act (FAA).
After seven years in operation, the FAA - and its twin-law, the Financial Services Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act - are due for maintenance.
The MOBIE 'Issues Paper' offers the first real glimpse of how the government may amend both laws, in particular the somewhat-experimental FAA.
As MOBIE acknowledges the FAA's difficult birth "resulted in a regulatory regime that is significantly more complex than was initially anticipated".
The multi-tiered, many-labelled, acronym-overloaded industry is probably a consumer turn-off, the MOBIE paper says, although in more words.
"We have heard that the regulatory framework is too complex for consumers," the paper says. "Consumers have noted that it is difficult to understand differences between classes of advisers, their different obligations, and their ability to advise on different products and give different types of advice.
"This may be undermining consumers' ability to make informed decisions about which type of adviser to use and how to interpret their advice, and may discourage some from seeking advice altogether."
Some of the MOBIE work-shopping ideas include: creating a distinction between 'sales' and 'advice', and; banning commissions a la the UK and Australia.
Banning commissions was briefly considered in the lead-up to FAA mark one but this time around the discussion appears more serious. In addition, MOBIE specifically highlights the Australian 'Trowbridge' life insurance remuneration proposals as a possible model for NZ.
"It is now time to take stock and identify areas where New Zealand can do better," the Hon Paul Goldsmith writes in the introduction.
The answers to that puzzle, and more, will be revealed in future issues.