Financial advisers urged to elevate culture and standards

Financial advice firms must set the right tone from the top, industry paper says

Financial advisers urged to elevate culture and standards

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Singapore’s Insurance Culture and Conduct Steering Committee (ICCSC) has released its third paper, titled Intermediary Culture and Conduct Best Practices – Promoting Ethical Culture and Conduct in Insurance Intermediaries (Life), as part of its efforts to elevate the culture and conduct standards of Singapore’s life insurance industry.

The ICCSC’s first two papers were released in March, focusing on human resources and corporate governance.

In the latest paper, the committee sets out the aim to enhance the quality of the financial advisory service sector through the practices of financial adviser representatives (FA reps) and financial adviser firms (FAFs) by providing guidance on the role of supervisors in setting the right tone from the top. According to ICCSC, this ensures the firms’ leaders do not focus solely on achieving sales and revenue growth. The recommendations are aimed at strengthening industry practices in the three key areas of supervisors’ quality indicators, quality management framework, and promotion criteria for supervisors.

The paper listed various best practices on establishing key performance measures that effectively encourage FA reps to provide customers with high-quality financial advisory services. These guidelines focus on calibrating and standardising industry practices in the areas of representatives’ quality indicators, rewards and recognition on culture and conduct, as well as post-sales services to customers.

ICCSC also urged closer collaboration for enhanced disclosures to customers and information-sharing between insurers and non-tied FAFs. This seeks to align and protect customers’ interests through regular engagements and dialogues with recommendations centred on proper disclosure to customers on products and incentives, as well as the sharing of sales quality data to improve culture and conduct.

“This is an extension of the first two papers with a specific focus on intermediaries within the life insurance ecosystem – from FA reps to FAFs,” said Khoo Kah Siang, chairperson of ICCSC. “Our aim is to enhance professionalism within the industry more consistently and elevate the standard of care for customers in the advisory process.”

The ICCSC is made up of senior leaders in the insurance industry and was established in December 2019 to foster sound culture and strengthen standards of conduct among insurers in Singapore. It is supported by the General Insurance Association of Singapore, the Life Insurance Association and the Singapore Reinsurers’ Association.

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