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Financial Advice veteran retires with warning note on new regulations

Jack Singh retires this month after 45 years as a financial adviser in Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. He talks to Dale Owens about his career and how he believes the toughest times in the industry are right now.

Wednesday, March 16th 2022, 5:57PM 4 Comments

by Dale Owens

Jack Singh seems content to be leaving his financial advice business Time Vision in the capable hands of his two sons. He says he’s happy to look forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.

But reflecting on a lifetime in financial advice he says the new regulatory regime has seen massive changes needed within the industry and not all good for the adviser. “They have loaded a lot of costs on the advisors and advisor businesses.”

The Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 introduced a new regulatory regime for financial advice on 15 March 2021. Singh says things are much tougher now as advisers must pay for registration, compliance audits, FAP fees, PI covers, client management systems as well as advertising and marketing.

“There are a lot of overhead costs now but where's the support? There is no support in assisting the business. In the process it is making it very difficult for common Kiwis who need to source professional advice.”

Despite the changes required and extra costs Singh says he believes the legislation has brought about professional improvements across the board.

“There were a lot of people who were hit and run guys, they didn't want to grow with the clients, they didn't want to be in business a long time, they would be interested in only doing one or two policies and getting the commission and just stop, gap and go.”

“So a lot of clients were being left with no advisors at the time. And you know, there was no continuity of service for the clients.”

Jack Singh's working life began with the Fiji Sugar Corporation in 1960, where he stayed for 17 years. It was a compelling pitch from his brother as to why he should get into the life insurance business that changed the direction of his life.

“Every year, they used to review my salaries and performance and they would give me a small raise. The best I could achieve was a double increase, they called it double runs. And that was for extra good performance. So my brother who was already in insurance at the time, said to me, if you don't like someone else assessing your performance at the end of the year, you can join the insurance industry with me. So I said, what will that give me? He said, you can nominate what you want to earn and then go and work hard for it. So that was that.”

Things went well for Jack right from the start. “In the first year, I produced four times my normal salary. In the second year, that increase was tenfold. I've never looked back since then.”

When Jack Singh started out for Colonial Mutual in Fiji he was selling only two products: Endowment and whole of life. “So I was the only agent who was making written presentations and running a professional office in Suva at the time.”

He continued, “Life was going well until 1987 when they had the first military coup in Fiji so after the military coup, that was when everything was sort of stagnant and new business was totally completely gone at that point in time.”

The Fijian and his family left Suva for Australia where he worked for Colonial Mutual in New South Wales, he also applied to live in New Zealand. In 1991 the family moved to Aotearoa and Jack started up a sole agency attached to Colonial.

This coincided with a time of great change within the agency system, which caused ripples through the industry. Upfront commissions went down but advisers now had a renewal base. Many financial advisers left the industry after these changes, but Singh stuck with it and opened up Time Vision Financial Services and an office in Mt Roskill.

In 1996 Jack Singh was awarded the Pinnacle award for being the best performing adviser at Colonial. Times were good and the company hired a PA, Norysca D’Souza, who is still with the company today and a qualified financial adviser now. In later years Jack’s two sons Niraj and Navind would join the family business.

After Singh’s retirement at the end of this month the company will be run by his two sons and it will continue to be part of the AIA Fap, it’s been this way since March 2021.

“We decided that Time Vision would be better to join the AIA FAP rather than being a FAP on its own, because it takes a lot of back office support to be able to carry out all the functions.”

Singh believes this arrangement will become more common, “So it's going to be they will have to go back to the thing where they are attached to one advisor, one company, it's always difficult to run with many suppliers.”

Asked if the need to become qualified and jump through regulatory hoops influenced his decision to retire, Singh said it didn’t enter his thinking much, it was just time.

“Not really no, I'm 80 years old now. So at some point, yeah. I feel that the boys are now capable of running the business on their own with the new legislation and everything.”

And the opportunity to spend more time with those grandchildren will be well deserved after helping so many other families with advice for the past 45 years.

Tags: regulation

« [Obituary] Insurance industry trailblazer Chris Coon diesPartners Life medical premiums set to go up 12% »

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Comments from our readers

On 22 March 2022 at 2:46 pm EC said:
All the best Jack. You're a well respected man who will be missed by many in the industry
On 22 March 2022 at 10:11 pm j foster said:
Best wishes for your retirement
On 23 March 2022 at 8:36 am mitsilad said:
I have decided that 14th March 2023 will be my last day. The new regulations are part of it but 49+ years in insurance will be enough.
On 23 March 2022 at 11:48 am Matron said:
Well done, Jack. You've been out there doing it and no one can take that away from you.

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