20 years on, giving good advice is more important than ever before
Twenty years ago, giving advice (particularly investment advice) was the domain of a few experienced and wise old heads, people who understood the sacred mysteries of the equity markets, term deposits and family trusts. Advice-giving was a quiet conversation in a tiny office, a handshake and a promise of benefits to come. Advice-giving was unregulated, paper trails were often non-existent, and clients would hand over their life savings, their dreams of retirement and the future financial well-being of their children to someone because a friend or a work-mate – or someone at a dinner party – told them they could be trusted.
In 1996 Strategi was created to address the changing regulatory and professional needs of people who give financial advice.
Initially Strategi was only aimed at the investment advisory market and worked with an ever increasing number of investment advisers to transform them from one-person operations into companies that had systems, processes and sustainable value. Along this journey, Strategi introduced leading edge ‘best practice’ and compliance solutions that still stand the test of time 20 years later. Strategi pioneered the transition for investment advisers from a dependency on product commissions to a situation where they charge fees for financial advice and use wrap platforms to manage and report on client portfolios.
A second and equally important driver has been towards better qualifications. Strategi moved from offering simple ‘training’ programmes to NZQA-based qualifications, and set up the Strategi Institute to answer the regulatory need to get financial advisers up to speed and set up benchmarks of quality throughout the industry. This drew in members of the mortgage advising and insurance industries, as well as investment advisers, and Strategi’s services became more holistic.
Strategi Institute prides itself on holding the highest qualitative rating that NZQA can award and has held that rating since its first NZQA review. The Institute offers over twenty different courses and study methods and is the only true fully integrated education and compliance provider in the New Zealand financial services industry. Today, the Institute is arguably the biggest specialist provider of the level 5 qualification to the industry. It also provides Radar, the most comprehensive online CPD learning platform for financial advisers and support staff in the NZ financial services industry.
Advice-giving has always been about relationships, and Strategi values its relationships with individual advisers, networks and QFEs. Just as the industry has moved on from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to advice, we strongly believe in being adaptive and responsive to the changing needs of our clients. We offer custom-designed solutions including training programmes, compliance auditing/review systems and productivity and efficiency business streamlining – solutions that help you grow your business, enhance your services and build value in your investment.
Financial advice is now more than a reputation and a handshake, it is one of the most scrutinised and regulated service industries, one with frightening penalties for those who don’t appreciate the seriousness of their business. Today, Strategi encompasses a much wider range of services than ever before: AML/CFT audits, business valuations, collaborative advice training, software solutions, business re-engineering, compliance reviews, virtual compliance officer services, compliance assurance, CPD, the NZ Certificate in Financial Services Level 5, plus a range of specialist courses to meet the evolving needs of the industry.
In addition, in 2017 Strategi began gearing up for the next stage of the AML/CFT legislation, bringing 'Phase Two' entities (including lawyers, accountants and real estate agents) under the AML/CFT Act 2009. Its range of AML/CFT solutions now extend to those professions.
At Strategi we have been on a 20-year journey to build knowledge and systems for the advice-giving professions. This experience has never been as widely needed as it is now. We will continue to evolve and improve as we do not believe that excellence is a point that one reaches. To us, we are on a journey that is driven by the relentless pursuit of excellence. We welcome the next 20 years, we thank those who have joined us along the way and we look forward to serving current and new clients with an ever improving team of dedicated and professional staff.