[Weekly Wrap] Not a vintage week for ISI

Normally we don't hear too much about the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI) and what it's up to. This week has been the exception - and for all the wrong reasons.

Friday, July 9th 2010, 9:00AM

The biggest news is that the ISI's chief executive Vance Arkinstall is facing criminal charges in relation to his directorships at Dominion Finance. It's not a good look for the ISI or for the savings industry. In reality Vance has no choice but to step down from the role until this matter is resolved.

It's unfortunate as Vance has been doing good work at the ISI over the years.

With regards to Dominion, I suspect he has become collateral damage with the company and that he would not have knowingly gone out to mislead investors.

It was always a little puzzling that he accepted such a directorship as there was always, at the least, claims of conflicts of interest. Dominion is one of those companies which has been a bit of a conundrum. In the good old days it was looked at as one of the better run companies, but that view has changed considerably. One day we will probably hear the full story of what happened inside the company. In the meantime, it is another name on a rather long list of failures.

The ISI also features in the on-going and lively debate about its new policy to stop advisers "churning" life insurance policies. There has been a great old debate going on in the Insurance News section of Good Returns. This week we have seen the ISI come out and say it will now consult with groups about the policy and consider changes. It has been a surprise that more consultation wasn't done originally. Also there doesn't seem to be a lot of openness around the policy. We asked for a copy of the guidelines but our request was denied.

The other little legal stouch at the moment is between Devon, Macquarie and its subsidiary Brook. As we report here it looks like Macquarie has scaled back its action to just one former employee rather than three.

In our regulation section we have an update on the new (draft) code and a story from an issues paper produced by the Code Committee. It has been a little surprising there hasn't been more discussion about the changes, but no doubt we will hear more next week when a series of public meetings are held.

There's been lots more mortgage action this week with further cuts to long term home loan rates, meanwhile NZIER is saying rate rises by the Reserve Bank are wrong. Also the NZMBA has added a new category to its annual awards.

Instant Finance provided the market with an update on its activities this week. This is one finance company which has survived the meltdown well. Its story, and how it changed its funding model, is refreshing reading. On the other end there is little cheer for Lombard investors - even though the receivers have upped their recovery estimates.

In People we have some changes at Equitable and a departure from Sovereign. Our lastest job listing is a fire and general practice looking for a life insurance adviser. Details here

Also South Canterbury Finance has made some key new appointments to help with its turnaround.

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