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Partners puts stop to offshore conferences

Partners Life is to axe overseas adviser conferences – saying consumers need to trust advisers and the insurers they deal with.

Friday, October 19th 2018, 3:53PM 2 Comments

Next year's Cambodia and Vietnam conference will be the insurer's last.

Managing director Naomi Ballantyne has issued a statement to advisers revealing the decision.

She said it had been prompted by a number of factors.

She had spent the past few months watching the revelations of the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry "in horror", she said. There were attempts to tar New Zealand operators with the same brush.

“And we have also heard repeatedly, and increasingly more assertively, from our regulators that soft dollar incentives such as offshore conferences for advisers are causing reputational damage to the New Zealand financial services industry.

"While they understand there is value created for both the adviser and the insurer from these conferences, they are not convinced that consumers benefit sufficiently to offset the potential for incentive driven conflicts to negatively influence the advice consumers receive."

She said Partners Life supported the regulators’ focus on ensuring banks, insurers and fund managers – and their distribution channels – behaved in a way that delivered consistently good outcomes.

“Our unwavering support of advisers, who can offer their customers product choice, has come about because we firmly believe this delivers the best advice proposition to consumers – and we are prepared to accept that Partners Life may not always be the chosen product provider as a result.”

She said customers needed to trust advisers and the insurers they dealt with, so they would accept recommendations.

“While we certainly believe Partners Life has benefitted significantly from each of the offshore adviser conferences we have held over the past six years, as we expect to also benefit from our Vietnam and Cambodia conference for which you are currently qualifying, we have come to accept that we must find new options to support our advisers into the future, options which will also emphasise the trustworthiness of Partners Life and our advisers in the minds of New Zealand consumers and regulators," Ballantyne said.

She said past conferences had given the insurer an insight into the lives of clients and the issues facing adviser businesses.

“We are extremely thankful for this and also for the absolute pleasure your company has given to both myself and my team at these events. There is significant value in the networking and relationship opportunity afforded by the conferences, not only between us and you, but also between advisers and we are determined to find a new format to ensure this important relationship building can continue, despite the cessation of offshore conferences.”

The last six months of the 2019 conference qualifying period would be spent working on how Partners Life could support advisers to deliver “outstanding advice to clients” and to help them building profitable, sustainable businesses.

“To this end, we will be formally surveying you for your ideas and opinions on how we can achieve this during November. We will then be engaging you on a personal basis over Christmas and throughout January  with a view to providing you with the results of all of your feedback, as well as launching our initial offerings in February."

FMA head of regulation Liam Mason has previously said that many soft commission incentive schemes would be "untenable" under the new financial advice regime.

AMP advised in April that it was ending its offshore incentive programme.

Tags: Partners Life

« Code tackles replacement business Advisers welcome Partners' move to cancel trips »

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Comments from our readers

On 21 October 2018 at 9:57 am LNF said:
A car dealership took it’s team to Las Vegas at Christmas 2017 and that was fantastic
But if an insurance company takes it’s team to an offshore location that is terrible
I think we might be losing the plot
On 23 October 2018 at 11:48 am MAX62 said:
Really ! Client Trust needs improvement ! my client base trusts me based on day to day dealings and I have been on thirty plus of these trips and it has never ever influenced my client outcomes .
I seriously doubt clients give a toss whether we go on trips or not .
AMP only quit trips as they were selling out due to loss of market share 12 on the last trip I believe.
We all know that companies will ensure we are adequately compensated for loss of incentive trips by remodeling these soft commissions get over your envy focus Mason!

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