Editor - Peter Sobels

Managing Editor – Peter Sobels

Calm heads and leadership

It doesn’t require a huge group of individuals or organisations to take action in order to achieve change. It only takes a few.

A few well-chosen words by a few people dedicated to their task can be the spark that will ignite the flame of change. It helps if those individuals hold positions of influence, but it’s not a pre-requisite. What’s more important is that the ideas themselves spread through the community of stakeholders who have an interest in the outcome.

I really like some of the recent comments made by AIA Australia CEO, Damien Mu. Amongst other contributions from Damien at our recent post-Trowbridge Round Table, he was reflecting a pragmatic reality in observing “…there is no perfect solution on [the issue of] adviser remuneration”.

Damien’s subsequent and sensible call to action on this issue is that the life insurance industry needs to achieve a self-regulated consensus model that is sustainable for all stakeholders (which naturally includes serving the best interests of the consumer).

I also like AFA CEO, Brad Fox’s call for individual licensees and advisers to step up and implement their own solutions to the issues surrounding quality insurance advice and adviser remuneration, before they become consumed by Government intervention because the industry was seen to become paralysed in its attempts to self-regulate.

While you’ll have your own views about the merits of the actions taken by AMP and Centrepoint Alliance in moving to a hybrid/level-only commission model from 1 July, this too, is leadership.

I don’t support the adviser remuneration model put forward by the Financial Services Council in its Trowbridge submission, but I do support the leadership demonstrated by FSC CEO, Sally Loane, in her drive to ensure that the outcome of this debate is one that serves the interests of the consumer.

Well-respected industry contributor, and Founder of specialist risk dealership, Bombora Advice, Wayne Handley, has characterised the current remuneration debate stemming from the Trowbridge recommendations as the most divisive he has witnessed in his entire career. Not many advisers would disagree with Wayne’s observation.

Given the high stakes, and the sometimes high levels of emotion involved in this debate, this makes it even more critical for calm heads to prevail (and I appreciate that’s easy for me to say, given I’m not remunerated via commissions).

It’s critical, if advisers are to be delivered an outcome that is fair to their business and to their clients, which minimises poor quality advice and which will deliver industry sustainability, that the voices of reason are supported and embraced, and that those relative few who are currently displaying genuine leadership have their message resonate throughout the community of stakeholders.

Now is the time for the industry to take action – for individuals and organisations to demonstrate genuine leadership, and arrive at a resolution to this contentious debate that respects the interests of all concerned.

See also:

Editorial Edition 17: Commissions and democracy

Editorial Edition 18: Hybrid to be the new upfront?

Editorial Edition 19: Commissions


Peter Sobels

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