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Time to regulate commissions?

ING Life chief executive Naomi Ballantyne has suggested that the life insurance industry should consider regulating commissions paid to advisers.

Thursday, June 29th 2006, 5:38AM

by Philip Macalister

She aired the idea during the Leaders’ session at the recent Success Forum conference, but got little response.

Her view is that commission disclosure, as has been discussed by the task force which looked at adviser regulation, would not work on the premise that providing this information without reference to other commission levels is meaningless.

To work consumers would need to be provided with a table of commissions from all providers so that they had something meaningful to compare against.

A key point she makes is that if commissions are regulated they could be at either a higher or a lower rate than their present level. She isn't saying they must be at a lower level.

"We have got to have big enough commissions so advisers can make a living."

She says if commissions were set by regulation then it would remove them from being a factor in product recommendation and selection.

Ballantyne said the life insurers had become too concerned about looking after the interests of advisers and were forgetting about the consumers.

She says the idea of regulating commissions isn’t unusual. It happens in places like Asia, South America and South Africa.

Ballantyne also notes that some countries have regulations over many other things such as policy wording and underwriting.

She also says this is just an idea for discussion. "I might be wrong about it."

What do you think about the idea of regulating commission levels? Send an email with your thoughts to us

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