independent – unbiased – no products
We are ImPower.
Impower; verb; Alternative form of Empower; To give someone more confidence and/or strength to do something, often by
enabling them to increase their control over their own life or situation. (Source: wiktionary.com)
We are qualified Financial Advisers that specialise in your Financial Wellbeing.
We are completely independent –
no affiliations to any products or product providers. Just advice tailored to you, and interests that align with yours.
Independent, unbiased, no products. Simple as that.
Jessica Jamieson – FSP670611
Tony Walker – FSP31882
NEW ARTICLE by Tony Walker – March 2021
A Brave New World – or more of the same?
On 15 March 2021, a new world of regulation came into effect in the Financial Services world.
Our question is: will this address some fundamental issues around competence, trust and transparency? Or will it merely rearrange the deckchairs on a struggling ship?
The Financial Services Industry
We all need financial services – true. But how well do we understand the financial services industry so that we can make good purchasing decisions which will bring about better outcomes for us and our family?
Over many years the industry has thrived on the manufacture and distribution of financial products – think insurance, KiwiSaver, mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, to name a few. It is when these products are sold/bought that money is earned –
- by the manufacturers – banks, insurance companies, investment managers, etc
- by the distributors – sometimes the same as the manufacturers, and sometimes financial advisers and sales agents.
But, where does advice actually fit into this picture?
What is Financial Advice?
Back in 2010 when the first significant regulation of the financial advice industry occurred, financial advice was defined in law in terms of “acquiring or disposing of financial products”. The regulators, in their wisdom, and heavily lobbied by the manufacturers, could not envisage anything other than product advice.
In 2016, ImPower was founded and challenged this view. We felt that many consumers did not need to buy a product to get advice. We had been working for many years with clients who just needed some commonsense help and guidance, very often leading to a change in the way they made financial decisions.
In 2021, the new definition of financial advice is a bit broader than it was in 2010. But it is still heavily focused on financial products (section 431C FMCA). And the piece of legislation which now brings all this together is called the Financial Markets Conduct Act (2013)1. To quote the FMA – “it’s all about conduct”.
We still don’t think it’s broad enough. There are too many loopholes and exemptions – and so consumers will find themselves in situations where they can potentially obtain financial advice from people who fall outside the law.
The Brave New World2
The “Brave New World” aims to provide consumers with “timely, accurate and understandable information” to assist them to make better financial decisions. It also not aims to avoid “unnecessary compliance costs”.
It’s too early to say with confidence whether these aims have been achieved.
But we do have some concerns about consumer access to good quality advice at an affordable level. Very often the people who most need advice are the people who can least afford to pay for it.
And what are good outcomes for consumers? Words like security and peace of mind are often trotted out at times like this. But what do they really mean?
Perhaps it’s as simple as this:
- Can I trust the person who is giving me “advice”?
- Can I sleep easy in my bed at night?
We believe that the only truly independent and unbiased “financial advice” is obtained when the consumer pays a fee to the adviser directly. While this is the model which ImPower uses, it is generally not used within the financial services industry.
But, consumers have been significantly empowered by the new legislation (even if they don’t realise). You should not be afraid to ask any adviser you are considering engaging the questions that concern you. The new law requires all financial advisers to provide comprehensive disclosure to their clients. If you feel that things are not being properly explained, have the confidence to ask. You have the law behind you!
And, if you don’t want to buy a product, consider ImPower3. We will explain our fees clearly to you – and we will make sure that you get full value for any fees you pay.
- The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 is the core piece of legislation for the financial services industry. Among its key aims are confident participation in the financial markets and fairness, efficiency and transparency in those markets.
- “Brave New World” was a futuristic novel written by the English novelist, Aldous Huxley. It was published in 1932 and focused on technology and how it might impact on society.
- And even if you do think a product might be needed, you might find the buying decision easier if you talk to ImPower first.
Who are you?
How we can help
Research has shown that the more financially ‘well’ your employees are…
- The more productive they are
- The less stressed they feel
- The better engagement they have
How ImPower can help: We are qualified, experienced financial wellbeing specialists who work only for you and your employees and in your best interests at all times. No conflicts.
Individuals, couples & families
Financial wellbeing is compromised by financial problems that are as individual as the people who experience them. They all have a similar impact on your quality of life, your health, your relationships and your work.
ImPower helps solve problems so you have more control of your finances and can live more fulfilled lives.