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Opportunities in New Zealand

Elizabeth Diffin

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Advisors see potential for growth in the market for themselves and for new advisors.
In times of economic decline, one might reasonably assume that financial services would also suffer. Not so in New Zealand, local advisors say.

“I believe any market can create opportunity for any advisor today,” said Jeff Goldsworthy, a six-year MDRT member from Hamilton, New Zealand. “Declining markets tend to make clients aware of the risks they face — death or disability, business continuity — and growing markets can also highlight their inability to continually grow if they cannot manage that growth.” He said both scenarios reinforce the value of advisors for clients trying to navigate the concerns of any economy.

Similarly, Mathew Ross Page, a four-year member from Auckland, New Zealand, believes the country has been relatively unaffected by the global financial crisis.

“House prices in New Zealand are at record highs, like many parts of the world,” he said, “which means our clients need more financial security should something go wrong for them.”

Mahesh Maru, a five-year member from Auckland, agrees. “The economy goes up and down,” he said. “I believe there is always a market available — you just have to think out of the box.”

Target market
For Maru, that has meant targeting New Zealand’s migrant community, which has increased by about 4 percent in the first half of 2017. “Our target market is new migrants, as we love helping them and educating them when they are new in the country,” he said.

Maru, himself an immigrant from India, believes migrants especially need to address medical questions before they are forced to face those issues directly.

Goldsworthy agrees. “We still face that age-old dilemma of getting people to understand their financial fragility when they don’t have their health, or that their best-laid plans can turn to a house of cards if their structures are not right,” he said. “I find the best tool to take to the table is stories. Good or bad, when I can relay stories to people of situations I have seen or experienced, clients relate.”

This more holistic approach is reflected in how Goldsworthy Financial Solutions serves its clients. “We are a comprehensive, full-service practice,” Goldsworthy said. “I asked a series of clients about our services some years ago, and they asked us to remain comprehensive. We have based ourselves on that model ever since.”

And while Page’s business, Financial Design Group, focuses exclusively on insurance, it uses a more creative tactic when dealing with clients who have multiple needs.

“Our business discusses the client’s full financial needs, and we have built relationships with other professionals who we personally use and trust to help our clients,” Page said. “These include mortgage advisors, fire and general insurances, investment planning, and accounting and legal services.”

“We still face that age-old dilemma of getting people to understand their financial fragility when they don’t have their health.”

—Jeff Goldsworthy

What the future holds
As New Zealand looks to the future, Maru said this comprehensive approach needs to continue to grow, especially for new advisors entering the field.

“We are in the industry that changes lives; what we do is a great responsibility on our shoulders,” he said. “Make sure you provide fully comprehensive coverage with a thorough education of the policy and how it will work for them at the time of claim.”

And for those who are interested in entering the financial services profession, all three advisors agree that the sector in New Zealand has great potential for future growth.

“The people we deal with still want to deal with people,” Goldsworthy said. “Robo advice and such does not concern me in the slightest because we don’t have enough advisors in New Zealand to meet the demand.”

He believes that the so-called “old guard” will need to reach out to younger advisors to help integrate them into the profession. Page also believes that this relationship between older and younger professionals is vital for the industry’s growth.

“It’s very hard to do it alone,” he said. “Work with a mentor, or get a coach who you can bounce ideas off of. I have had many different coaches and mentors and still call on them when I want help with figuring something out. And get involved in the industry. It is a great industry to be a part of, and many people within it are willing to offer help and ideas to help you succeed.”

Maru agrees, and sees only positive growth in the future. “In coming years, a lot more changes will come,” he said, “and this industry is going to be better and better.” He specifically envisions opportunities for his fellow migrants, including those who haven’t yet left their home countries.

“If anyone is thinking of migrating to New Zealand, this is by far one of the best countries in the world,” he said. “The insurance industry and the people in this industry are lovely people who will welcome you with both hands.”

“I believe there is always a market available — you just have to think out of the box.”

—Mahesh Maru
Jeff Goldsworthy
Mathew Page
Mahesh Maru

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