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AdviceFirst has welcomed POD Consulting, a highly regarded HR consultancy, into its business.

POD is an established NZ HR Consultancy, that works alongside business owners and managers providing expertise in business strategy and specialist HR advice with a focus on building positive cultures, tracking business performance and managing employment relations.

Combining POD and AdviceFirst services means our collective clients will have access to a wider range of valuable advice, specific to their business and personal lives.

In addition to financial planning advice we now also offer:

  • business planning advice
  • HR services and systems covering everything from inductions to managing disciplinary matters
  • employee engagement through to leadership development
  • recruitment solutions
  • coaching and career development
  • succession planning and support with business exits 

AdviceFirst and POD have been working together for several months on a shared vision to develop an opportunity that would see us partnering more closely with our respective clients and their teams.

Being a trusted strategic partner to business owners and managers has enabled the clients of both organisations to get on with achieving their business goals in the knowledge that they have us as their partner for quality advice and as a sounding board.

You can find out more about our new Head of Business Consulting, Sharn Rayner here and you can read more about POD’s AdviceFirst business offerings here.

AdviceFirst was formed in 2008 by a small group of Financial Advisers. Spicers also a financial planning and investment company was formed in 1987. In 2016 AdviceFirst and Spicers joined together as one company to operate as AdviceFirst, a nationwide network of professionally recognised financial advisers. In 2018 POD, an HR Consultancy, joined AdviceFirst broadening our business offering to add more value to our clients so they can realise a better financial future.

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AdviceFirst Limited | A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.




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Over the past few months, the New Zealand Dollar has fallen in value against other major currencies such as the US Dollar. While the NZD might not be as strong as it once was, this isn't entirely negative.

For investors funnelling their money out of the country into foreign investment opportunities, the combination of sinking dairy prices, a cold front on the housing market and low-interest rates back at home, the lowering value of the Kiwi Dollar has been mostly positive.

Those who sought to invest their Kiwi Dollar overseas are seeing a great return on the conversion from foreign currency back into NZD, which has been previously viewed by some as overvalued.

Today (31 August) * the NZD is worth 0.67* against the USD whereas it’s 1 USD to 1.50 NZD – and that’s after the Kiwi Dollar had seen a slight bounce back earlier in the month, so you can see the allure.

dollar dropping chart

Up to 31 July, the MSCI World Index in NZD returned +23.2%, substantially exceeding the +13.9% return from the World Index on a 100% NZD hedged basis.

So, if you invested in overseas shares (as represented by the MSCI World Index), there's quite a boost from the fall in the NZD during that period. But there's the risk that the inverse can happen too, that's why investors will choose a "hedged" approach which removes the fluctuations in currency.

AMP Capital noted in their Winter Edition of ‘Taking Stock’ magazine, that “For New Zealand-based investors, holding specific foreign currency exposures can provide some protection during sudden, unexpected shocks to global share markets. However, for more defensive international assets such as bonds and alternatives, a high degree of hedging is usually advantageous”.

As with any discussion regarding asset allocation, an appropriate hedging philosophy and strategy is key to portfolio composition. While some portfolio solutions may have hedging built in, others won’t. The amount of currency management a portfolio has is tied to a client’s long-term goals and risk tolerance rather than any short-term opportunity. Certainly, by investing in assets other than just New Zealand based assets, we are currently seeing some positive portfolio movements tied to the local currency.

If you would like any more information on the value of the dollar and how this could benefit you, talk with your Adviser about foreign investment opportunities.

AdviceFirst Limited | A full Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.




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A recent presentation by the Financial Markets Authority highlighted that women are more conservative investors than men in the types of investments they make.

This means that even when a male and a female each have $100,000 to invest for their retirement, more often than not a male will make a better return over time. We think this finding provides compelling evidence for females to make sure they seek expert investment advice. You don’t need to be good at everything, you do need to know when it is a brilliant idea to talk to the experts.

Auckland based AdviceFirst Adviser Lynette Ball says that she’s not surprised. “I talk with women all the time who don’t realise how conservative they are with their financial planning until I sit down with them and we talk through the goals these women have and what they can put in place to achieve them. It’s very individual, but the value of working with Advisers is that we can explain the risks and benefits at a very personal level – our clients definitely benefit from expert information”. 

AdviceFirst Limited | A full Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.




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If you have worked across the Tasman in Australia after 1992, then you’ll likely have accumulated an Australian Super in an Australian Superannuation fund.

From 1992, employers in Australia have been required to make contributions on behalf of their employees just like we do here in NZ for KiwiSaver accounts. In July 2014 the employee contribution was set by the Australian Government at 9.5%.

If you’ve since moved back to New Zealand, you might have already transferred your Super into your KiwiSaver account. If you haven’t or are unsure where to begin, we can help! 

If you don’t know if you’ve got a Super left behind in Australia, you can check with this handy tool: SuperSeeker. Or you can go old school, print, complete and send off a form.

According to AMP’s Australian Super Transfer Guide, “In New Zealand, you can only have one KiwiSaver scheme account. However, in Australia, it is possible to have more than one Australian Super account. If you find out you have multiple accounts, you may be able to consolidate them into one account in Australia, which will make it easier to transfer the savings to your KiwiSaver scheme account.”

It's important you follow up on any potentially unsupervised Super savings you’ve left behind, as you never know what it could end up costing you. Stuff published a story at the start of August about a New Zealander who finally checked on the Super she had left in Australia and learned she had been charged $5000 for an Australian Life Insurance policy that she no longer needed as she had returned to New Zealand.  The same woman had another Superannuation investment in which similar withdrawals had left her with much less than expected.

Fear not, however, if you have moved back to New Zealand and you want to transfer that Aussie Super into your KiwiSaver account where it can work for you at home, we can help. Your first step is as simple as talking to our KiwiSaver Specialist, Jermaine Cooper.

The whole process can take up to three months, so you better get moving!

AdviceFirst Limited | A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.







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Not all stories get an immediate happy ending, some are a work in progress, and our Advisers are often working in the background fighting the good fight on your behalf. One such example happened recently. We've kept names and details anonymous but felt it was worth sharing because sharing is caring.

Setting the scene: Imagine you're not very well, you must take some time off work, and you're not sure how you're going to manage to pay the mortgage.

Cover?: You were smart, you took out income protection insurance in case of a scenario where you couldn't work, just like this, and you're currently waiting for a decision on pay-out.

Options: You’ve cut back where you can, but until you get an insurance pay-out approved, you decide to try for mortgage holiday as a last resort – it’s causing you a lot of worry.

According to “some mortgages allow you to take a ‘loan repayment holiday’ or ‘mortgage holiday’ for up to three months. You don't pay anything during this period, but interest is still charged to the mortgage”.

The outcome?: Your request to apply for a mortgage holiday gets declined. You feel lost and stuck. Who can you turn to?

This was a real case AdviceFirst had to deal with recently, and one of our Adviser's displayed precisely the kind of above-and-beyond service that we strive for.

How did we help?

Our Adviser carefully listened to the client and their distress. They then contacted the bank that rejected our client’s request to apply for a mortgage holiday and arranged a face-to-face meeting on the clients’ behalf.

Our Adviser didn't have to do this, but out of concern for the client, they went that extra mile to help reduce the pressure they were facing. The process started out traumatically for the client, however; as a result, the client wound up achieving their mortgage holiday thanks to our Adviser's efforts which also provided them some temporary respite from anxiety.

While this kind of action is a last resort for some people juggling their financial obligations, it can be an expected part of the claim process for some clients with income protection insurance, that are unable to work due to illness.

That's not to say a claimant will always be granted a mortgage holiday or can be helped by their provider, but AdviceFirst’s knowledge and skill-set can help in dealing with banks and lending institutions, which is valuable. Not all clients understand how to approach this kind of request or have the confidence to follow through, especially if they are unwell and not in their usual state of mind.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let’s talk.

AdviceFirst Limited | A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge. 



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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have created an eagerly anticipated new platform for SME Representation in Government called The Small Business Council.

Formed for 2018-2019, over the next 12 months they will provide advice to the Minister for Small Business on:

  • a segmented definition for the SME sector
  • a small business strategy
  • the ongoing purpose and functions of the Council beyond the initial twelve-month appointment
  • establishing a Small Business Institute to be located in a New Zealand tertiary institution

The council is made up of thirteen business leaders and four Government advisors who will meet monthly. You can see the full list & a short bio on each member here.

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash was quoted on the new appointment saying, "The Council will help the government develop a strategy to drive improvement and innovation in the small business sector… Significant shifts in technology, the global trading environment, and domestic policy settings always present challenges for businesses."

"The time has come to establish a specialist group to consider some of these strategic issues over a longer timeframe and pull together advice from a range of institutions and practitioners… I want to make sure SMEs are well placed to maximise future opportunities and play their part in helping create a sustainable, productive and inclusive New Zealand economy."

How big of a footprint do SME’s have in NZ?

MBIE’s 2017 report with statistics from Statistics New Zealand cites that:


 A full list of MBIE’s publicised 2017’s SME statistics can be found here.

AdviceFirst Limited | A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge.



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It’s the unthinkable and the worst-case scenario for many. Cancer is New Zealand’s biggest killer. states the “Ministry of Health data found the disease accounted for nearly one-third of all deaths recorded in 2015. Of the 31,796 deaths that year, cancer accounted for 9,615 of those", and the disease disproportionately kills men. 

Given the statistics, we'd all like to imagine New Zealand has access to the best drugs. While we do have access to a great number of treatments, we can’t rely on Pharmac - the Government's drug agency -  to provide access to all promising new drugs (even if they are readily available elsewhere in the world).

Stuff has claimed "Pharmac takes on average three years to review an application for a brand-new cancer drug, and that means that Kiwis are missing out…other countries like Australia, and Canada, and the UK, do manage to have a system that can facilitate a mix.".

According to Pharmac’s website, there is a logic behind the lengthy approval process - “Overseas experience has shown that cancer medicines approved based on early signs of promise rarely deliver on that. In the US a study of 36 cancer drugs approved by the FDA between 2008 and 2012, on the basis of surrogate outcome measures, found that by 2014 only 5 were shown to improve overall survival. Analysis of European Medicines Agency approvals for cancer drugs between 2009-13 showed most entered the market without evidence of benefit or survival gain. More than three years afterwards, there was still no conclusive evidence that lives were extended or improved for most cancer indications, and when they did, these were often marginal."

For some patients though, they feel they have no choice but to seek out alternative treatment currently not funded by Pharmac. But can someone going through a significant life event like cancer afford to look elsewhere when they're not being given the treatment they feel they need?

The knock-on effect of something like cancer can be overwhelming financially. There can be heavy financial burdens as well as commitment implications for an individual, family or business. In 2017, Southern Cross – one of NZ's leading not-for-profit health insurance providers launched a new form of health insurance cover called Cancer Assist. Cancer Assist is an add-on that policyholders can choose as an extra to their existing cover to "insure against the risk of contracting a cancer best treated using drugs not yet funded by Pharmac”.  

The point of such a cover is to assist when the unthinkable and worst-case scenario plays out for real.

Cancer Assist is designed to support claimants by providing a cushion so that scenarios that might otherwise cause a financial strain, anxiety and stress at an already tense time are hopefully reduced.

Southern Cross says their particular policy helps to support:

  • Additional treatments – paying for additional or alternative treatments that may not be covered by the public system or health insurance. These could include new treatment options or non-Pharmac approved drugs.
  • Taking time off – taking the pressure off needing to work or reducing your work hours.
  • Staying on top of bills – helping with household expenses like mortgage payments or rent and credit card payments.
  • Treatment travel costs – covering flight or petrol costs if you need to travel for treatment.
  • Childcare and home help – making sure the kids are well cared for while you are having treatment, or arranging extra help around the home.
  • Overseas travel – taking a holiday to relax or visiting loved ones overseas.

“Insurers are really starting to look at this area and there are an increasing number of solutions being introduced to the market to cater for various situations. Some policies can pay a lump sum where others have an ongoing benefit to capture these costs over time or for reoccurring conditions. This is something we determine when we talk with our clients and look to see if their current health policy covers this or if we need to look at options over and above."  – James Polson, AdviceFirst Client Adviser, Christchurch

We don’t have a crystal ball, but if you’re interested in discussing how Cancer Assist or an alternative cover could work for you, then let’s talk. Our Advisers are here to discuss the best options for you and your circumstances.

AdviceFirst Limited | A Disclosure Statement is available on request and free of charge. 

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