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Draft Financial Advice Code - Managing Conflicts of Interest

Overall I agree with the draft Code Standard. My comments only apply to the commentary under the standard. I agree in general with the “Where practicable, avoid conflicts of interest” but suggest that this should not preclude delivery of a service provided on the basis that commission shall be taken. I note MBIE's recent comments on the role of commission as a form of remuneration, and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors view on the matter too. Perhaps every adviser should offer a fee-only alternative. I discussed that with my compliance adviser, and we could end up with something of a pantomime of not-really-an-option-fee-offers. The commentary should support the decision of our legislators to allow commission, but to require the conflict to be managed. So I think it important to allow that a service can be provided on a commission basis despite the conflict, if the product or service would not otherwise be available to the client, or would require the client to incur additional inconvenience and cost to obtain the same product or service elsewhere, and the client still wishes to proceed.

Fidelity Life's 'Listening Post'

Since 2016 Fidelity Life have been asking for feedback from claimants and new customers to improve the claims experience and on-boarding process for clients. They have now extended the programme 'Listening Post' to include feedback from policy renewal processes and the contact centre. 

Here are some insights from what Listening Post has discovered so far:

  • Advisers play an absolutely pivotal role. Customers really appreciate their knowledge, expertise and the friendly support throughout the new business on-boarding process.
  • Some customers however are really struggling at renewal time and they’ve told us they want to talk to their adviser to re-assess their needs and understand their options. 


Research: When Boards Broaden Their Definition of Diversity, Women and People of Color Lose Out

Less diverse boards may be a consequence of moving to a definition of diversity that focuses on thinking differently. Although thinking differently should perhaps be the criteria in a world where sex and skin colour do not matter, if it results in companies failing to change... what has it achieved except to destroy the hope being placed in the call for a more diverse senior business environment?

'Over the last several years, competing notions of “diversity” have emerged. In many corners, the traditional definition, focused on demographic diversity, has been eclipsed by a new concept centered on experiential or cognitive differences. Deloitte, a provider of advisory services to firms around the globe, including 85% of the Fortune 500, encapsulates the trend, noting, “Up to now, diversity initiatives have focused primarily on fairness for legally protected populations. But organizations now have an opportunity to harness a more powerful and nuanced kind of diversity: diversity of thought.”'

Click here to read more.