According to Today, a widely-read free Singaporean newspaper and news website, the alliance is aiming its persuasive capabilities at a review panel set up earlier this year by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and tasked with finding ways of boosting the standard of financial advice on offer in the city-state.
The article appeared on the publication’s website early this morning Singapore time.
As reported, Lee Chuan Teck, chairman of the panel set up to conduct Singapore’s Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR), who also happens to be a senior figure at the MAS, stated in May that it was both “premature and inaccurate to suggest the panel will recommend a fee-based model”. However, as the Today article suggests, there appears to be a widespread belief that a shift to fee-based remuneration remains a likely possibility.
Alliance of advisers, insurance firms, ‘others’
The Today article notes that an alliance that includes Singapore’s Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association as well as Singaporean insurance firms, "among others", is arguing that any move towards a fee-only remuneration model "would endanger the livelihood of financial advisers", particularly if it were based on a fixed fee for advisory services.
The piece is evidently based at least in part on a memo that was sent by the head of the pro-commission alliance, Leong Sow Hoe, to fellow alliance members, "updating them" on the outcome of a one-hour meeting he and fellow members of the group had had last week with the FAIR panel. The newspaper has a copy of the memo, it said.
Leong, it noted, wrote in his memo "that he left [last week’s meeting] ‘feeling optimistic’".
The Today article also quotes Leong as pointing out that the United Kingdom and Australia, which have moved to fee-based models, have seen an "industry exodus, with the remaining mainly elderly agents serving the well-off".
The plans for a wide-ranging review of Singapore’s financial services industry were unveiled in a surprise announcement in March, in an address by MAS managing director Ravi Menon, during a 50th anniversary dinner given by the Life Insurance Association of Singapore.
To read the article about the fight to retain commissions in Singapore in full on the Today website, click here.