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ALP flags long wait to examine life commission changes

Labor says adviser concerns at the way commission payments will work can be raised at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) industry review in 2021.

A bill changing the way advisers are paid for selling life insurance passed both houses of Parliament last week.

Labor senator Jacinta Collins says the Opposition supports the “modest reforms to adviser remuneration… because they represent steps to improve the quality of financial advice in relation to life insurance products”.

“They represent steps to better align the interests of those providing financial advice with the interests of consumers,” she told the Senate. “They also address concerns about advisers churning clients through products.”

Senator Collins says some consumer groups feel the clawback provisions do not go far enough, especially after they were reduced by one year in the revised bill.

“We would not want to see financial advisers pressure customers to unnecessarily change their life insurance policy after two years as a result of these changes,” she said.

“The ASIC review of these reforms should provide insight into the effect of the revised framework on churn. We also note the concerns of some financial advisers who feel, rightly or wrongly, that their voice has not been heard in the policy development process.”

Senator Collins expressed disappointment that the bill does not have provisions to enforce the changes.

“We support ASIC in the steps it takes to ensure advisers abide by these laws.

“The bill does something in relation to conflicted remuneration for financial advisers selling life insurance products, but it does not address the issue of conflicted remuneration for claims handlers.”

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