Fidelity Life moves 3000 policies to the cloud and more daily news

The first phase of Fidelity Life’s technological update is now completed. The $25 million change is part of Fidelity Life’s digitisation process that will ensure 3000 policies are relocated to the cloud.

“New Zealand's largest locally-owned insurer, Fidelity Life, has completed the first phase of its $25 million technology transformation, migrating of 3000 policies to a Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud platform.  

The project, which was nicknamed ‘Watson’ for the innovative spirit of Fidelity Life founders Gordon and Shirley Watson, underpins the company’s five-year transformation strategy, built on the idea of "reimagining life insurance for New Zealanders".”

Project Watson is in collaboration with Datacom, Theta, DX Labs and Microsoft. In the past 12 months Fidelity Life has worked to update different aspects of the business to accommodate the implementation of Project Watson.

“The project has been delivered with the assistance of partners Datacom, Theta and DX Labs as well as Microsoft.

Fidelity Life chief technology officer Dan Wilkinson said the strategy required a high degree of ambition and innovation, and a traditional approach wouldn't cut it. 

Over the past 12 months we’ve focused on bringing our people along via fundamental improvements to the entire technology ecosystem, such as a new virtual desktop solution which enabled a seamless transition to remote working during the Covid-19 lockdown," he said.”

The transformation is designed to ensure sustainable growth is achieved as well as improving the support offered to advisers and partners.

“Fidelity Life’s transformation was all about delivering sustainable growth. 

“Project Watson will drive innovation, productivity, resilience and improved support for our advisers and partners," Wilkinson said. 

"Most importantly, though, it will allow us to develop simpler, more flexible products and deliver good outcomes for our customers."” Click here to read more

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RBNZ: Transparency And Disclosure Critical To COVID-19 Response


AIA set to host online health and wellness event, and more daily news

It was announced that AIA will host an online health and wellness event, AIA Live, on August 2 2020 from 2 pm to 10pm. The event will be focused on mental wellbeing, exercise, activity and rest, nutrition and personal growth while also incorporating music and comedy into the sessions. AIA Life is set to solidify AIA’s commitment to encouraging healthy living. 30 sessions will be running during the event to appeal to people of all ages and in different regions.

“AIA, the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group, today announced plans to host its first ever regional online health and wellness event, spanning 13 markets and headlined by AIA’s Global Ambassador David Beckham.

AIA Live will be broadcast on Sunday 2nd August and will include more than 30 unique sessions, delivering health and wellness content to inspire, motivate and educate people across the region as part of AIA’s commitment to helping them live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. Key themes will include mental wellbeing, exercise, activity and rest, nutrition, personal growth, as well as light-hearted moments of music and comedy.

AIA Live has been designed to appeal across all age groups and multiple markets, celebrating the cultural diversity of the region while at the same time bringing people closer together to deepen their knowledge of health and wellness in a fun and engaging way.”

Although registration is required, AIA Live will be hosted on AIA’s Healthy Living YouTube channel. This event allows AIA Vitality members to earn points. As part of the event AIA New Zealand ambassadors Ian Jones and Jess Quinn will be hosting activities. Jess Quinn will be running a body image workshop while Ian Jones will be holding a HIIT workout session.

“AIA Live will be hosted on AIA’s Healthy Living YouTube channel and AIA Vitality members will be able to earn AIA Vitality Points for taking part. By registering for the event, participants will also earn the chance to win significant prizes including trips to London to watch Spurs play and meet their first team players, as well as signed footballs from David Beckham, virtual cooking lessons with Jeremy Pang, and merchandise from our other ambassadors. AIA also plans to host similar days in China and India in early September, with tailored content for those markets.

AIA Live will be broadcast in New Zealand on Sunday 2nd August from 2PM-10PM. As part of the event, AIA New Zealand ambassadors Jess Quinn and Ian Jones will be taking part with Jess running a body image workshop and Ian demonstrating an at-home High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout.” Click here to read more

In other news:

Kiwibank: Thousands of Kiwibank customers caught up in privacy breach

Southern Cross: Health screenings 101

AMP: KiwiSaver Still Attractive In ‘retirement’


Details on Financial Advice NZ Money Week, and more daily news

Financial Advice NZ’s Money Week will begin on August 10 2020. This year there will be two initiatives in place. This first will be focused around working with the FMA to hold an interactive day to help the public better their financial understanding. The second initiative will be a webinar to discuss different aspects of personal finances.

The first: we're working with the FMA to hold an interactive day at The Base Mall in Hamilton on Saturday 15 August from 9-5pm. We'll be providing a space for the public to get a better understanding of all things financial. We'll also have people there to answer any questions (general advice) the public may have. If you're a local adviser and would like to join the FMA and myself for an hour or two, please email Jasmina Nagar

The second initiative: to host a public-facing webinar every day of that week from 11am-12pm to discuss five topics around personal finance. We're hoping to engage the public to seek financial advice and increase their financial health, wealth and well-being. Watch this space for more information and the marketing campaign that will support this initiative.”

In other news:

Over 900 transitional licenses have been issued with more than 300 issued to Authorised Bodies

Over 6,700 advisers have been attached to a transitional licence,  meaning 75% of advisers have made a decision on the FAP transitional licence they will operate under

FSC: Navigating Regulation 

AMP: Aussie advisers to file class action against AMP


FMA looking to obtain power over mergers and acquisitions, and more daily news

After a policyholder raised concerns over the sale of AMP Life the FMA has stated that it would like to obtain the power to oversee mergers and acquisitions relating to banking, insurance and non-bank lenders. The proposed expansion of regulatory power would give the FMA power to require a conduct assessment be completed before purchase.

"The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) wants to be given the power to block mergers and acquisitions that affect banking, insurance and non-bank deposit takers’ products.

The regulator wants to be able to require a prospective new owner of a financial institution, or a particular loan or insurance book for example, to undergo a conduct assessment first.

It says it would exercise this power as the overseer of a conduct regime to be introduced once the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill is passed."

The FMA has presented their idea to MBIE and has suggested that additional clauses be added to CoFI to permit the FMA to oversee future mergers and acquisitions.

"The FMA argues that in the same way the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) needs to ensure a financial institution meets its prudential requirements before it becomes licenced, so has to give its approval for a merger/acquisition to proceed, the FMA should be given similar powers when it comes to conduct.

It has discussed the matter with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and suggests clauses be added to the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill, which is currently before the Finance and Expenditure Committee." Click here to read more

In other news:

Department of Internal Affairs: Department of Internal Affairs advised that it is calling a list of businesses who operate in the sectors that it supervises for AML/CFT that have not registered with the Department or confirmed that they do not provide products or services that would require them to comply with the AML/CFT Act, to obtain clarity about their status.

FANZ: Trusted Adviser mark criteria revealed

'Make real money': Client sues over 'sophisticated' investor tag

This last story is well worth a look too. Here is a quick snippet. It is worth considering that compliance structures are now complex. If clients do not understand the consequences of their choices within the establishment of the nature of the relationship, then it is likely that advisers, advice providers, and even product providers will be blamed: they have experience and information on their side. This may be hard to distinguish from a client who knew exactly what they were doing and simply reach for any and all means to recover losses that they should take responsibility for. It is always complicated 

'A woman who says she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on funds of fallen investment manager Blue Sky claims she was wrongly steered into classing herself as a “sophisticated” investor."


AIA community grant launched, and more daily news

AIA has launched their community grant programme. The grant is set on helping financial advisers motivate those in their communities to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ten advisers whose ideas are voted as the best will be awarded $50,000 each.

“The programme has been designed to help financial advisers make a difference in local neighbourhoods and highlight the importance of health, wellbeing and overall financial resilience to New Zealand. Through a competitive application process, ten grants of up to $50,000 each will be awarded to initiatives designed to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of New Zealand communities.”

Advisers can submit their ideas on AIA NZ’s website and Instagram using the hashtag #aiahealthynz and tagging @aiavitalitynz.  The Winners will be announced in August.

“AIA will select ten applicants for the grant to be announced in August 2020.

To submit your ideas, post an image or video to Instagram with the tag #aiahealthynz, pin your local community and tag @aiavitalitynz.  Applications can also be submitted on AIA New Zealand’s website.” Click here to read more

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In other news:

The Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill underwent its first reading in Parliament, being referred to the Education and Workforce Select Committee.

AMP: Sale of AMP Life criticised

To FAP or not to FAP, the update

Share: Former Fidelity executive joins dealer group

 


Changes in Suncorp management, and more daily news

Paul Smeaton the CEO of Suncorp New Zealand is set to leave his current role and move into the role of Chief Operating Officer at Suncorp’s headquarters. The role of Suncorp NZ CEO will be filled by Jimmy Higgins the current Chief Financial Officer.

“I want to let you know that I am moving to a new role within the Suncorp Group and that our Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Higgins will be stepping in as Acting Chief Executive Officer.

I will be heading back across the Tasman to take up a new role as Chief Operating Officer – Insurance based at Suncorp’s headquarters in Brisbane, as part of some wider executive changes within the Suncorp Group.”

Recruitment for a permanent CEO will begin shortly.

“While there is an internal and external recruitment process underway for my replacement, I am very confident that I will leave you in excellent hands with Jimmy in the interim.”

In other news:

nib: New clients that sign up using nibAPPLY 1 July – 30 September will go in the draw to win one of ten NZ Mystery Weekends for two

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life launched Stress less their July Sharecare challenge

FMA: Statement of Performance Expectations

nib: nib Adviser Webinar - DHBs and nib’s First Choice Network

AMP: AMP Life rating affirmed after sale


AMP sale finalised, and more daily news

The sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life has been finalised. The sale amounted to A$3 billion (NZ$3.19 billion), with A$2.5 billion being paid in cash and the remaining A$500 million being paid in equity interest in Resolution Life Australia. 

“The total sale proceeds are A$3 billion, comprising A$2.5 billion cash and A$500 million equity interest in Resolution Life Australia, a new Australian-domiciled, Resolution Life-controlled holding company that is now the owner of AMP Life.”

As a result of the sale, AMP will transfer an estimated A$55 billion in client funds as part of the company’s internal separation process. And although AMP will sell AMP Life, the company will be providing technology and administrative services to AMP Life for the next two years as part of a transitional services agreement.

“The separation of AMP Life will significantly simplify AMP’s group structure. The internal separation process included the transfer of approximately A$55 billion of client funds via several successor fund transfers.

 

Collectively these transfers represented one of the largest fund transfers of this kind and enables AMP to focus on its strategic simplification of its wealth management platforms and products.

 

In addition to its residual 20% holding in Resolution Life Australia, AMP will continue to provide technology and administrative services to AMP Life for a two-year period under a transitional services agreement. All customers’ terms and conditions will remain unchanged through the separation.” Click here to read more

Therese Singleton has been appointed CEO of the Resolution Life New Zealand Limited which has an A- financial stability rating from Standard and Poor's. 

 

In other news:

Kepa: Kepa are planning to hold two-day workshops for compliance support people in mid-sized to large adviser businesses in August, September and October

Fidelity Life: Fidelity Life launched Live in the Green, their July Sharecare challenge

nib: nibAPPLY offer extended until end of September

RBNZ: Monetary Policy dates for 2021

 


Cigna non-medical limits enhancements, and more daily news

Cigna’s new non-medical limits for the Assurance Extra and Business Assurance product suites have been introduced. This change is looking to make the underwriting process and getting cover easier for customers.

“As part of these ongoing improvements, I’m pleased to announce that tomorrow – 1 July, we will release new non-medical limits for our Assurance Extra and Business Assurance product suites.

We understand that the process of getting medical tests as part of the application process can be time consuming. These new limits reflect our commitment to looking out for our customers by making it easier to be processed through underwriting and get cover. The new limits will be applied to any new business currently in underwriting with us."

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In other news:

FANZ: Financial Advice is looking to open registrations for the 2020 Financial Advice New Zealand Conference soon

AMP: Business Hub: AMP's Blair Vernon on the death of the office cubicle

FMA: FMA publishes Statement of Intent and Statement of Performance Expectations

FMA: FMA publishes NZX Obligations annual review


AMP Life sale, and more daily news

After yesterday’s announcement of RBNZ approving the sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life, some consumers raised concerns that the conditions of the sale won’t be enough to protect the interests of customers.

“There are fears the conditions the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) has put on the proposed sale of AMP Life to Bermuda-based private equity firm, Resolution Life, don’t go far enough to protect the interests of the insurer’s 200,000 New Zealand policyholders.”

One policyholder expressed his fears that the contract terms were general and that Resolution Life wouldn’t have an incentive to uphold goodwill if they don’t write new polices. As a result, claims and bonuses would be at risk of not being paid out.  

“The RBNZ’s general manager of financial stability, Geoff Bascand, said: "Because AMP Life is a branch of an Australian business and intended to be in ‘run-off’ and not write new business, special arrangements were needed for the security of New Zealand policyholders."

However, an AMP Life policyholder with a background in investment banking, Andrew Body, was concerned that without writing new policies, Resolution Life wouldn’t be incentivised to maintain goodwill in the market. Accordingly, he worried any claims and bonuses owed to policyholders could be put at risk.

While Resolution Life will be required to honour existing policies, Body said contract terms were often “very general” and relied on “trust”.”

I do not think this is realistic. The requirement for a trust and Policyholder Advisory Committee will provide a level of additional protection for policyholders, and reflects the kinds of governance requirements around conduct soon to be implemented across the sector, when new conduct law is eventually passed. The problem for AMP policyholders is a mirror of the problem for AMP. Long-term contracts make it hard for both parties. For the insurer, the clients you end up with on your books after 20, 30, or 40 years can have quite different characteristics to those you underwrote all those years ago. The situation for policyholders is that AMP has decided it would prefer not to be in the life insurance business. Resolution Life wants to be. Even though Resolution Life will not be writing new business, their investment will fail if they experience very high levels of lapses - the substantial existing premium and the price they paid to own it are both substantial stakes in the future of the book. 

Click here to read more

In other news:

Monetary Policy easing to continue

Financial Advice NZ: Consultation: Trusted Adviser Financial Advice New Zealand

FSC: proposed standard licence conditions for financial advice provider full licences


AMP sale gets the green light, and more daily news

After spending the past 18 months reviewing the sale proposal, the Reserve Bank announced that they have approved the sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life. Customers with existing policies with AMP Life will be unaffected by the transaction.

“The Reserve Bank has approved the proposed sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life, in a revised arrangement that is subject to a number of conditions imposed to protect policyholders.

The Reserve Bank has been reviewing the proposed transaction and consulting with the parties involved over the past 18 months to ensure the deal met our requirements, Deputy Governor and General Manager for Financial Stability Geoff Bascand says.”

For the sale to go ahead a Trust was established. This is to ensure objectives are met, industry dynamics are positive and that there is insolvency protection. Additionally, the Trust is set to ensure localisation. Capital and assets will be held in New Zealand and Resolution Life New Zealand (RLNZ) will be established.

“A bespoke trust model has been established that ensures supervisory objectives are better met, future industry dynamics are generally more positive, and there is additional protection in the event of insolvency - one of the key risk considerations that we have been seeking to mitigate,” Mr Bascand says.

The Trust is required to hold capital and assets in New Zealand that help provide long-term security for policyholder benefits or investments, where relevant. The Trust will be under the management and scrutiny of relevant officers in New Zealand, who have appropriate influence and authority in respect of the New Zealand operations, for the purpose of securing equity across all policyholders.

In addition, the model will see the establishment of a new, locally incorporated insurer Resolution Life New Zealand (RLNZ). The RLNZ board will have a majority of New Zealand resident, independent directors. RLNZ will act as Trustee to the Trust and will effectively manage the assets held in the Trust.”

In other news:

Kepa: Four Adviser Resource Centre Services were available to Kepa Members for free July – September

FSC Connect webinar - Customers, complaints and claims - what have we learnt from COVID-19?

FSC webinar: Compliance with Financial Advisers Act between now and March 31 2020

FSC webinar: Preparing contracts with authorised bodies, advisers, contractors and other staff or suppliers