Adviser, insurer relationships must not ‘fracture’: TAL

While heated debate continues over the details of the life insurance industry reforms, TAL chief executive Brett Clark says the relationship between advisers and insurers must remain strong.

Speaking to ifa, Mr Clark said that with all the differing opinions about how the details of the reforms should be laid out, he was concerned the relationship between advisers and insurers will "fracture".

"We need to have debate to find the right answers and [answers that are] healthy [for the industry]," Mr Clark said.

"The one thing that we can't have in debate, particularly between the advice community and the life insurers, is a fracturing of that relationship.

"When advisers and insurers work together – and they work well together – the proposition to the customer is a powerful one, and if [that relationship fractures] and [they] are not working close together [that] won't be helpful, and I remain concerned about that."

During the discussions about industry reform and leading up to the announcements by Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Mr Clark said TAL wanted to ensure a "prosperous and thriving financial advice industry".

"We didn't want to see an industry which would be materially smaller than what it is today," he said.

However, Mr Clark added that some changes did need to occur.

"Overall, in terms of the final framework that Mr Frydenberg announced, there were some common themes in there in terms of how we were thinking about the situation," he said.

"As an example, we were supporting commission structures around the order that [Mr Frydenberg] announced recently."

Mr Clark added that TAL spoke to many advisers across a number of channels when preparing its submission.

"We talked with advisers within our own licensee, Affinia, and we talked to our adviser relationships and licensees that are not part of the TAL family and all those views are relevant to us and helped form our own views," he said.

"TAL is a business which I suppose culturally has partnering as one of its core values in terms of partnering with advisers."

"So we took a lot of input from the market both in terms of reform and remuneration models and a lot of things we need to be doing in our own business as well," Mr Clark said.

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