Risk Product, Company and Regulatory Updates as at 19 March 2019

Product Updates

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BT’s LifeCENTRAL+ Desktop is updated
BT’s LifeCENTRAL+ has had some modifications, with the program now including split premium frequency. Other additions include:

  • LifeCENTRAL+ Online launch - website version of quote and applications software

  • New PDS for BT Protection Plans and BT Protection Plans Reserve

  • Launch of My Wellbeing Portal and offer

  • Updated Adviser Guide

  • Pricing changes for Income Protection

  • Needlestick Benefit price reduced by half

  • Closure of Policy Fee Waiver campaign at the end of March 2019

Company Updates

Commonwealth Bank delays demerger
CBA’s wealth management and mortgage broking business demerger has been delayed after the banking group said it is prioritising implementing Royal Commission recommendations, refunding customers, and remediating issues from the past.

Integrity Life enters retail life risk space
Integrity Life is a new entrant in the Australian life insurance market after a successful, customer-focused, adviser-led pilot program. The new life company is set on providing good value with the latest technology for retail life insurance clients. New technology, the company says, will free advisers from legacy constraints, while looking to simplify applications and inefficiencies.

Regulatory Updates

Clayton Utz surrenders withheld AMP interview documents to ASIC
ASIC has received internal file notes from Clayton Utz regarding interviews with current and former employees and officers of AMP in connection to fees-for-no-service. The Clayton Utz report was considered in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in 2018.

ASIC began formal court proceedings against both AMP and Clayton Utz in December 2018 in order to get hold of the documents, which AMP said were subject to legal professional privilege. Clayton Utz produced the documents to ASIC, AMP agreed to pay ASIC’s costs, and the proceedings to obtain the documents was dismissed by consent on March 8.

FSU campaign to end gender pay gap
The Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU) is campaigning to have pay confidentiality clauses in Enterprise Agreements removed to help end the gender pay gap. The pay gap in financial services remains high, at 30.3 per cent of total remuneration. Research suggests that pay transparency could reduce the gender pay gap by between two and seven per cent.

Employers that either don’t have such a clause in their agreements, or have agreed to remove it, include AMP, ANZ, Zurich, Allianz Partners, ClearView Wealth and Endeavour Bank. Those who have refused to remove it include Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, IAG, QBE, Suncorp and Sydney Credit Union.

FPA launches FASEA policy and education hub
Financial advisers with the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) now have a FASEA hub to get easy-reading information regarding education policy developments. The Return to Learn portal has gone live, providing policy updates and study tools for advisers.

The portal also offers a cost comparison tool of different education provider fees, with a credits comparison regarding what credits providers allocate to members who have completed the five-unit Certified Financial Planner designation.