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Market leading products, market rate commission

New adviser regulation, uncertainty surrounding merger and acquisition activity and improved life margins means the insurance market is “primed for a new company,” according to Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne.

Wednesday, April 6th 2011, 7:15AM

Speaking to an audience of advisers at the Partners Life launch event in Tauranga Ballantyne outlined the philosophy behind starting the new company and gave details of some products she described as "market leading."

However, Ballantyne was reluctant to discuss issues surrounding adviser commissions - citing media fixation with the subject.

Good Returns was asked to leave the adviser section of the presentation, with Ballantyne saying afterwards the company would pay adviser commission "with the market."

She did add the company had a ‘shadow shares' scheme - which aims to incentivise advisers to write larger amounts of business with the company.

Outlining why she believes now is the right time to launch a new insurer, Ballantyne cited three main factors; uncertainty around merger and acquisition deals such as the AMP takeover of AXA, a return to profitable life margins and adviser  regulation - which she believes will "drive the market higher."

The company's commitment to the adviser sector was also emphasised.

Citing a recent UK study, she said despite insurers' moves towards direct selling it was found 65% of sales were still through independent financial advisers.

"We know independent advisers aren't going away, they're going to stay vibrant, we need you," she said.

As part of their commitment to the sector she said the company would provide clients they sold directly to as leads for advisers.

In the accompanying launch brochure the company said it believed, "the best outcome for each individual customer requires the careful analysis of their unique circumstances, needs and preferences. . . for this reason Partners Life is strongly supportive of the independent advice market."

As well as supporting advisers, she said the company aimed to provide the market with the best possible products.

"We will look at everything the industry has done before and find a way of doing it better," she said.

Finance director Richard Coon said that with management owning two-thirds of the company - having "skin in the game" - it is in their best interests to build long term value.

The role of the company's management, and their combined experience, was also highlighted by sales and marketing director Pauline Prescott, who hailed Ballantyne as, "the lady behind much of the innovation in today's market."

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