The Australian FSC has announced a draft approved provider standard. While the draft standard has been getting quite a lot of flak from advisers, it contains quite a lot to commend it.
First, the flak: Trowbridge requirements were landed in full on advisers, but the recommendation to have APLs that included at least half the industry have not appeared in the draft standard, feeding the impression that hard rules can be applied to advisers, but not corporate Australia. Simon Swanson, CEO of Clearview, and formerly CEO of Sovereign, here in New Zealand, described the draft standard as a wasted opportunity.
But there is good in the standard. As a shareholder in a research provider I cannot help to be excited at the idea of similar standards being required here. Take this summary section: "It is envisaged the Life Insurance APL will have regard to:
- Claims and underwriting philosophy of providers
- Product features, benefits and consumer value for money
- Relevant product research and service metrics"