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So what are you going to do differently?

So here we are, the countdown to Christmas is upon us and the year in the rear view is almost complete.

Monday, December 3rd 2018, 9:01AM

Jon-Paul Hale

On my website I wrote a blog early in the year about goals and aspirations around the typical New Years resolutions, and asked the question; So what are you going to do differently?

Well, we’ve had a few surprises, and many things are going to be different.

We’ve known that FSLAB was coming, but that took to the second half of the year for advisers to realise it was happening.

MBIE’s disclosure regulations review has sort of flown under the radar, with little in the last little while said on this at all.

We’ve had the Code Working Group release their draft code, and that’s created many comments, from both sides of the divide. I feel the principals based approach taken is far more useful than the prescriptive options suggested, we will see if the CWG maintain their stance and keep it simple, readable, and applicable with the rest of regulation.

The FMA has been pretty silent on the development of licensing. So little to say other than it’s going to be busy next year for many of us getting our heads around transitional licensing...

Heading into 2019 it’s looking like FSLAB won’t quite be done, the final code for submission to the minister won’t be back before January, MBIE is yet to say anything relevant, and the FMA is quite as a mouse. Maybe something for Christmas Eve?

On top of that, we’ve had the Australian Royal Commission beating up our neighbours. With their regulator doing it’s best to kill the insurance industry by proving commission is evil by banning it. We will see how that works out, not well is my thought.

Either way, the Royal Commission has highlighted significant shortcomings with the management of corporate financial services in Aussie. There have been some shocking stories and examples that should be a guide to us on where not to be when we take a similar journey into licensing.

Though our own recent case of poor conduct by an adviser has seen some comments suggesting advisers here don’t yet understand the basics of legal contract requirements and the integrity of who is giving disclosure being a fundamental essence of our insurance laws.

We’ve seen M&A that has been interesting and surprising.

The OnePath sale to Cigna, the Sovereign sale to AIA, and the exit of AMP from the life market, with the sale of their book to a management company.

Some strength in some of these stories, but also some pause and reflection as we effectively lose two more insurers from our market. AMP life insurance clients may be in for a ride we haven’t seen with an insurer to date here too, we will see.

The AMP one was a bit of a surprise, was this the knee-jerk reaction to the Aussie experience, and getting out of dodge before the regulator comes knocking?

Alternatively, the more likely and significant, deciding that the spend on infrastructure to rebuild AMP’s risk offer to be competitive, was too expensive and risky, and selling up and taking the money was the better option?

Can’t blame them if it was the later. Life Insurance is hard work on capital with significant risk.

Also, to top it off, there’s lots of noise about commission, created by advisers and compliance companies, not the regulators though the Reserve Bank has woken up on this recently and come out supporting the banks on the basis of profits. Clearly missing the point in the memo about client outcomes and not just corporate profits.

Though the surprise for me was the dumping of the trips, they have been the stalwart of sales incentives for every industry and profession since Adam was a boy.

For the insurance industry, the start of the year would have seen insurers reacting like the NRA, “from my cold dead hands”, to the suggestion trips should go. My comments mid-year were met with mixed replies and lack of appetite to change even then.

Today they have all backed away from them, and they are no more, it would be nice to see the NRA wake up and similarly smell the lilies.

So to 2019, what is it going to look like?

Given the change and tumultuous year that was 2018 you could be forgiven in taking the deck of cards, throwing it in the air, and going, I’ll play them where they land.

However, the smart ones will already have the big dates of change in the diary, with plans around their education and registration renewals.

They will also have their business plan in order, who are they targeting, who are they calling, what numbers do they need to pay the bills, make a profit and be a stronger business in 2019.

So my question to you remains the same because 2019 is going to be a year of change, whether you like it or not.

So, what are you going to do differently?

Tags: Jon-Paul Hale

« Servicing, company agencies and the legislation2018, more time will tell »

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  • a2: could the milk be starting to turn?
    “Great Fundemental look.I guess in the ASX50 . as long as Aussies still love buying the Dip..its no worries Graeme Adams...”
    23 hours ago by Graeme33
  • It starts with governance
    “Hi David and thanks for your words also. I did read the FMA stuff before the post and also in my first response mention...”
    1 day ago by gavin austin adviser business compliance
  • AMP reports profit drop amid 'solid' result
    “Sadly, AMP is becoming less and less relevant. Apart from this tiny blip of positive cash inflow, they've been bleeding clients...”
    1 day ago by Contrarian
  • It starts with governance
    “Good words Gavin - might also mention the FMA publication -”
    1 day ago by dcwhyte
  • It starts with governance
    “adviser1 - go talk to Partners Life. they have a great tool to help with this sort of stuff. ...”
    1 day ago by Tash
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