5th AFA Annual Conference

PHOTOS OF 5TH AFA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

 

 

 

Annual Financial Planning Signature Conference 2016

Annual Financial Planning Signature Conference 2016

Annual Financial Planning Signature Conference 2016

Cover

For the full flyer, please click on the icon below.

PDF Image

Special Interview: The AFA 3rd Annual Conference at Money Compass Sept-Oct 2014 issue

AFA - 3rd Annual Conference (Money Compass) 1

 

An interview between AFA with Money Compass.

You can view the full details of the interview from the document below.

download pdf

 

Keynote Address by Assistant Governor at the 15th Asia Conference on Bancassurance & Alternative Distribution Channels

Keynote Address by Assistant Governor at the

15th Asia Conference
on Bancassurance & Alternative Distribution Channels:

Nailing Down the Winning Strategies in Bancassurance

Mr. Donald Joshua Jaganathan
6 May 2014

It gives me great pleasure to be here at the 15th Asia Conference on Bancassurance & Alternative Distribution Channels. This conference takes place at an exciting time for the insurance industry in Asia. After decades of strong growth and modernisation, Asia has achieved remarkable standards of living, with hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty and a middle-class population of over half a billion. Structural reforms following the Asian financial crisis have enabled the region to remain resilient throughout the global financial crisis of 2008/2009. Post-crisis, the vibrant economies in Asia have continued to be a pillar for global recovery, with this year’s GDP for developing Asia projected by the IMF to grow 6.7%. Insurance markets have also grown in tandem with the economy. Over the past decade, total premium in emerging Asia increased by 10% per annum for life business and 13% per annum for non-life business on average and is projected to grow 11% this year and 10% in the next. The insurance industry, however, cannot be complacent and take this story for granted. Our past successes have been as much a result of foresight in pursuing new opportunities as a firm resolve in confronting new challenges. Even as insurance markets continue to mature in Asia, forces of change are already underway that will transform the landscape in which insurers operate and drive the development of new business models and delivery channels.

In the coming decade, insurance business in Asia will be profoundly shaped by social and economic transitions. I will briefly touch on five areas: (i) demographic shifts, (ii) increasing affluence, (iii) greater connectivity from new technologies, (iv) more intense competition and (v) a renewed focus on financial inclusion.

Firstly, while countries in Asia are at different stages of demographic transitions, what is unique to Asia is the speed at which populations are ageing. For example, the US took 72 years for the population over age 65 to double from 7% to 14%. Most countries in Southeast Asia are expected take 20 to 25 years, while Korea and Singapore are expected to take less than 20 years. Asia will have a much shorter timeframe to ensure an adequate social safety net is in place to support an
aged society. Greater reliance will therefore be placed on the insurance sector to keep pace with the growing demand for old age protection and healthcare funding.

Secondly, increasing affluence and a growing middle-income population will be a key driver of demand both in terms of quantity as well as quality. With greater affluence, households will also become more empowered in expressing preferences and more discerning in making financial decisions. Insurers will need a more tailored approach in ensuring their distribution capabilities are able to effectively deal with different customer segments.

Thirdly, advancements in information and communication technology (ICT) have given rise to an era of instantaneous connectivity. According to certain estimations, Internet and smartphone penetration rates in Asia have reached 32% and 43% respectively in 2013. Beyond offering new channels for delivery of products and services, ICT has opened up new ways of doing business. The Internet has evolved from being merely a tool for insurers to provide information on products into a competitive marketplace and platform for exchange. In more advanced economies, for example, aggregators have intensified price competition in personal lines insurance business. The advent of “big data”, encompassing technologies ranging from social media to telematics, will significantly augment insurers’ analytical capabilities to enable a more responsive and personalised customer experience, foster process innovation and provide strategic agility through quicker time-to-market.

Fourthly, with globalisation and progressive liberalisation of insurance markets in Asia driving increased competition, the search for growth through new customer segments and improved margins from efficient operations will continue to intensify. In certain markets, players have shifted away from expensive face-to-face channels towards offering simple products through more cost efficient direct marketing channels. Such channels have also enabled insurers to make inroads into previously uninsured segments thereby going beyond just winning market share towards expanding the insurance marketplace.

Finally, there is a renewed focus on financial inclusion to ensure that all segments of society benefit from economic growth. This includes ensuring that everyone is adequately protected from catastrophic events and other adverse shocks. Swiss Re has estimated the mortality protection gap in South and East Asia to be around USD32 trillion. Closing these gaps would require a clear vision to which all stakeholders, from the insurance industry to the Government and financial regulators, must aspire through stronger collaboration and coordinated initiatives. In this regard the Bank aims to increase the insurance and takaful penetration rate in Malaysia, defined as number of policies per population, to 75% by 2020, supported by other measures to promote the long-term sustainable growth and development of the industry as outlined in the Life Insurance and Family Takaful Framework (LIFE Framework).

In the environment I have just described, insurers can no longer afford to rely solely on traditional business models and delivery channels. Instead, insurers must be aligned to the broad diversity of consumer needs and preferences, while also being flexible to adapt as these needs and preferences change over time. Such a market will see the emergence of a diversity of business models from multi-channel strategies to specialised players focused on single channels such as direct marketing, financial advisers or bancassurance. Still others will realise the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid through microinsurance. Specialisation is also expected to occur along the supply chain with new players, including from non-insurance sectors such as retailers, adding greater value with innovations in areas ranging from branding and marketing to data enrichment.

Bancassurance, financial advisers and direct channels 

While the possibilities for alternative distribution channels are extensive, I will address three areas that are already showing great promise for our markets here in Asia, namely: bancassurance, financial advisers and direct channels.

Bancassurance presents a unique proposition for insurers to widen their outreach while maintaining acquisition costs at manageable levels. By leveraging on banks’ existing branch network and customer base, which are well established throughout most markets in Asia, insurers are able to scale up very quickly into geographical areas and customer segments that might not be accessible by existing channels. It is therefore not surprising that bancassurance is the fastest growing global channel for insurance. In China, bancassurance sales increased by 415% within 5 years from 2004 to 2009. In Malaysia, bancassurance accounted for 36% of new life insurance business premium and 39% of gross contributions for Takaful business in 2013. At the current penetration level of 5% of the banking population, there remains significant room for growth. Under the LIFE Framework, the Bank has envisaged a bancassurance penetration target of 10% as part of the move towards diversification of insurance distribution channels in Malaysia. Rationalization of incentive structures proposed under the framework are aimed at improving persistency through more widespread adoption of needs-based selling, product strategy reviews and quality post-sales service. These measures are also expected to shift the mix towards protection and savings products from credit-related insurance that currently dominates this channel in particular for
bancatakaful.

Financial advisers on the other hand have the advantage of providing advice to consumers on overall financial planning by growing, managing and protecting personal wealth to meet specific financial goals. With increasing affluence, a growing segment of consumers with more complex financial needs and goals will require the sort of comprehensive service that is delivered by financial advisers. In addition, financial advisers may be perceived to be more independent than tied agents, which will be important as consumers become more discerning. As a relatively new channel in most of Asia, the primary focus is to establish public confidence through raising professional and ethical standards of financial advisers. This is a key focus under the LIFE Framework for Malaysia. In addition, the Bank will reduce paid-up capital requirements for financial advisors to encourage new entrants.

Previously consisting mainly of tele-marketing and direct mailing, direct distribution is today considered an important channel by most insurers, in view of the new possibilities enabled by the high levels of internet penetration and proliferation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Social media has become a vital platform for business to engage with consumers and build their brand as well as being a rich data source in its own right on today’s fast moving consumer
trends. The availability of instantaneous information has tipped the balance of power in favour of consumers. One such innovation is the aggregator, which has seen an increase in utilisation of 44% and 50% for motor and home insurance respectively in just a short period from July 2012 to April 2013 according to a report on the insurance market in Asia-Pacific. In Malaysia, the high levels of internet banking and mobile banking penetration of 52.2% and 12.7% respectively augurs
well for direct insurance models. In fact, in the general insurance and takaful sector, direct channels already have achieved significant market shares of 10% and 14% respectively. For the life insurance and family takaful sector, the LIFE Framework envisions greater adoption of direct channels such as internet platform and walk-ins for pure protection products.

Safeguarding consumer interests

The global financial crisis has shown that rapid financial sector innovation without due regard to business conduct can result in large-scale losses to consumers and cause widespread disruption to financial institutions and markets. As a result, there has been a renewed focus on consumer protection and market conduct, with new institutional arrangements for conduct regulation being established in some jurisdictions and strengthened enforcement frameworks in others. Of importance in a conduct regulation framework is an emphasis on financial institutions’ having effective oversight arrangements to ensure that business is conducted in a responsible manner.

With the Financial Services Act 2013 and Islamic Financial Services Act 2013, which came into force in June 2013, the Bank has a clear mandate to foster fair, responsible and professional business conduct among all financial service providers. The new legislation also strengthens the protection of policyholders against disproportionate actions by providers to void contracts in cases where misrepresentation by consumer was unintentional. In this regard, greater responsibility will be placed on insurers to pose specific questions for consumer insurance contracts, to obtain information for underwriting purposes. Against this backdrop, the Bank has recently issued a Concept Paper on Prohibited Business Conduct outlining practices that are assessed as providing misleading or deceptive information, exerting undue pressure when marketing products and collusive business practices that may result in unfavourable outcomes to consumers. The Bank is also developing standards of fair and responsible business conduct that will require the board and senior management to ensure high standards of fair dealing and  professional conduct. While regulations governing business conduct is applicable to all areas of an insurer’s business, new distribution channels will likely require a heightened vigilance in view of the potential for new types and sources of risks.

In addition to strengthening business conduct practices, securing public confidence in a market with diverse distribution channels will also require building the financial capability of consumers. While this applies to all consumer segments, particular emphasis will need to be placed on empowering lower income households and other groups that are currently uninsured so that they are able to make informed decisions on the products and services they need. Financial education initiatives must aim to increase consumer understanding of insurance, including how to navigate in an environment with multiple delivery channels and how to seek avenues for redress where products and services fall short of expectations.

Governance and risk management

Insurers pursuing new distribution strategies will need appropriate governance and risk management to ensure that emerging sources of financial and operational risks are well contained. Insurers’ strategic planning process must take into account their competitive positioning, the target risk / reward trade-off and financial capacity to absorb losses. Prior to introducing a new distribution channel, insurers must ensure they have the capacity, including the appropriate expertise and resources, to adequately manage and control the risks associated with that channel and possible spillovers onto existing business. Policies and procedures for managing and mitigating new types of risks will need to be developed and implemented across the whole value chain, including product development, authorisation, pricing, marketing, sales, post-sales servicing and portfolio management. These will need to be designed to ensure that the insurer continues to operate within its pre-determined risk appetite and limits.

Success in the new insurance distribution landscape will require strong internal communication flows to ensure that the governance and risk management across all distribution channels are fully integrated with the insurers’ operations and control functions. New policies and procedures must be communicated in a timely manner to all relevant parts and levels of the organisation and periodically reviewed in the light of changing circumstances. In addition, more complex IT infrastructures that are central to many of the new channels will require commensurate attention to IT-related risks, which include strategic, compliance and business continuity risks.

Conclusion

The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter described “creative destruction” as “process … that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” As Asia transforms and replaces old social and economic structures with new ones, so must the insurance industry revolutionise its business models and paradigms. The challenges for insurers are significant, yet great rewards await those who seize the opportunities presented by the new environment. In so doing, not only will the industry benefit from growth but the public, who are the ultimate stakeholders, will continue to enjoy rising standards of living and protection from adversity. With many in Asia still not adequately insured, the imperative is clear – insurers must rise to the challenge and chart new pathways towards success.

With that, I congratulate Asia Insurance Review for organising this most timely and relevant Asia Conference on Bancassurance & Alternative Distribution Channels. To all the speakers and participants, I wish you all a productive conference and thank you for your kind attention.

Financial Adviser's Handbook – by AFA with support from Bank Negara Malaysia

Financial Adviser Booklet (Updated 09.10.2014)_FINAL_Picture

 

You can view the full details of the handbook from the document below.

download pdf

 

 

 

President address by Alfred Sek – 3rd AFA Conference 2014

President Speech

AFA 2014 Annual Conference

FA The Future. Right Here, Right Now

Alfred Sek

31st October 2014

ALFRED SEK

Our guest of honour, Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Puan Jessica Chew Cheng Lian. Pengarah Jabatan Konsumer dan Amalan Pasaran of Bank Negara Malaysia, Encik Suhaimi Ali. Executive Director of Securities Commission, Mr.Goh Ching Yin. Officials from Bank Negara Malaysia & Securities Commission. Company CEOs, Members of the Media, Fellow Financial Advisers, Distinguish Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

A Very Happy Morning,

Todays’ conference marks another milestone for the future of the financial advisory industry in Malaysia. Let me start with a personal reflection. Over the last 15 years, since I started the Financial Advisory business, it was notsmooth sailing as there are many challenges facing the industry. Therefore in 2010, I decided to take the lead to form AFA, as I am convinced that the future for the Financial Adviser in Malaysia requires an Association that will help build the foundation for working with the regulators and all industry stakeholders.

 

And indeed over the last 4 years with the support from Bank Negara and Securities Commission, the development of the FA industry has been impressive. With the introduction of the Bank Negara concept paper and the changes to the regulatory requirements, more financial practitioners are now optimistic of the potential growth opportunity in this industry.

 

AFA has added value by stressing the important of working together for the common interest that bind us all. With these let me be an optimist; if all the industry leaders and regulators can come together to agree on the common goals, then we would have a big leap forward in the financial planning industry in Malaysia.

 

AFA has also initiated the first consumer education programme with the support from Bank Negara and today will be another historic event as we are honoured to have Puan Jessica Chew, Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia as our guest of honour to launch the First Financial Adviser handbook for distribution to the public.

 

Going forward, AFA will continue to play an important role in developing action plans together with the regulators to further enhance the development of the FA industry.

 

With many positives favouring the FA industry, I strongly believe FA will be the future and the place is right here in Malaysia and the time is Right Now. This is also the theme for today’s conference.

 

This year we are indeed grateful to Bank Negara for allowing us to host our 3rd Annual Conference at this wonderful state of the art auditorium in Sasana Kijang. With this, I would like to say “Banyak Terima Kasih” to Bank Negara.

 

Following this, I would also like to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to our Guest of Honour Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Puan Jessica Chew Cheng Lian, Executive Director of Securities Commission, Mr Goh Ching Yin, all our generous sponsors, speakers, special guest, supporting organisations, participants and all those who have contributed for making this conference possible.

 

Let us start Right Here, Right Now to make this conference a benchmark for the Financial Advisory industry in Malaysia.

 

Thank you.

 

 

Assistant Governor’s Keynote Address at the 3rd Annual Conference of the Association of Financial Advisers

Keynote Address at the
3rd Annual Conference of the Association of Financial Advisers

“Financial Advisers The Future – Right Here, Right Now”

 

By

Jessica Chew Cheng Lian

Assistant Governor Bank Negara Malaysia 

Sasana Kijang Bank Negara Malaysia

31 October 2014

PUAN JESSICA (2)

At this Conference last year, I spoke on four key priorities identified by Bank Negara Malaysia (the Bank) to further develop the financial advisory industry and to enable the financial advisers to effectively perform their role.  Let me first say that these priorities remain relevant today and our focus has not changed. This morning I would like to share with you how we have moved some of these priorities forward, and the steps that remain in order to further strengthen the financial advisory channel.  To recap, the key priorities of the Bank are:

  • First, to ensure that financial advisers are highly competent and professional when they provide advice;
  • Second, to identify and address the barriers that are preventing qualified parties from entering the industry, and the constraints that are limiting the ability of financial advisers to recommend the best solutions to their clients;
  • Third, to improve the alignment between the interests of consumers and financial advisers; and
  • Fourth, to intensify our review of the quality of advice provided by financial advisers to consumers through our supervisory work programme.

 

In November of 2013, the Bank outlined proposed regulatory reforms for the financial advisory industry which formed part of the “Life Insurance and Family Takaful Framework” or in short the LIFE Framework, which we published for consultation. An important aim of the reforms is to support the Bank’s desire to further diversify insurance delivery channels as one – although not the only – way to improve the quality of advice, and enhance choice and value for consumers based on their specific needs and circumstances. This in turn would contribute towards increasing the insurance and takaful penetration rate to 75 percent by 2020 as targeted under the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

 

We received positive feedback from the financial advisory industry on the proposed reforms and while specific elements of the LIFE Framework remain under review to take into account the comments that were received, we have moved ahead to implement several changes proposed which concern the financial advisory industry.

 

The Bank has lowered the minimum capital requirement for financial advisers to RM50,000 which will take effect from 1 January 2015 to encourage more advisers to enter the industry.  This follows an increased focus on professionalism, innovation and quality of advice as the hallmark of those who are admitted to the industry.  It also reflects the Bank’s desire to accelerate the development of the industry and promote its continuous renewal by making it easier for qualified individuals to offer their expertise and services, thereby expanding access for the public to financial advice while continuously raising the bar in innovative solutions for those seeking advice.  We believe the new capital requirement strikes a better balance between the traits that we want to nurture within the industry and the financial commitment that remains important to ensure that those who we license are invested in the development and success of their firms.

 

The Bank, in close consultation with AFA as well as the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC) and Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM), has also reviewed and agreed to an expanded list of minimum qualifications to become a financial adviser’s representative.  The review identified four core areas of knowledge – namely financial planning, risk management, insurance planning and investment planning – which are considered essential to equip a financial adviser’s representative to provide proper advice on insurance or takaful solutions. These areas have been preserved under the expanded list of minimum qualifications, while allowing greater flexibility for other qualifications to be included.  This change has halved the cost and time required for individuals to attain the qualification requirements.  In addition, an individual that possesses a qualification from a higher learning institution which covers the core areas of knowledge and which is recognised by the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC) and Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) can be a financial adviser’s representative without the need to take additional examinations. These new requirements have been implemented since 1 September 2014.   The changes present new opportunities for AFA and its members to reach out to a broader talent pool of potential financial advisers, including young graduates, who can contribute to the growth and development of the industry.

 

It is important to emphasise that these minimum qualifications are only a means, and not an end, to the provision of sound financial advice.   At best, it is a starting point.  The Bank expects both at the industry and firm levels that financial advisers are committed to maintaining an adequate level of general and specific knowledge and skills required to deliver sound financial advice.  This means having in place arrangements and processes to ensure that new financial adviser representatives are properly supervised, and all representatives are committed to a programme of continuous learning and professional development.  It also means subscribing to a strong code of professional ethics and conduct.  This is the focus of the Financial Services Professional Board (FSPB) which was established recently with the support of the Bank and the Securities Commission.  The FSPB’s objective is to drive the development as well as the advocacy of professional standards, ethics and continuous professional development across the financial services industry.  I would strongly urge the AFA to work together with the FSPB to develop and implement industry codes of conduct and ethics for its member firms and representatives which should express in very clear terms the professional responsibilities that a financial adviser must demonstrate towards its clients.  This should be accompanied by an effective mechanism for investigating and addressing complaints on a breach of these responsibilities, and the ability to act against errant members in order to preserve the integrity of the profession.

 

In line with efforts to ensure a high level of professional competence among financial advisers, the Bank also intends to require qualifying and continuing professional development programs for financial advisers to be formally accredited by the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA).  As you may already know, the FAA is an independent quality assurance and accreditation body for the financial services industry that was established by the Bank and the Securities Commission in 2012.  It provides programme accreditation, individual accreditation and institutional accreditation services for learning initiatives within the financial services industry locally and internationally.  Since its inception, FAA has registered 28 training providers and accredited 18 professional and academic learning programmes offered in Malaysia, the Middle East, Asia, and the United Kingdom, including those offered and recognised by highly reputable and established international professional bodies. FAA has also developed Continuous Professional Development Guidelines for the financial services industry. The recent launch of the FAA Learning Standards and the Finance Qualification Structure will facilitate the harmonisation and wider recognition of accredited professional learning programmes which will also be important for this industry to promote consistent standards in the professional development and mobility of its workforce.  We have started to engage FAA, the industry and education providers on this initiative and are working towards the accreditation of mandatory core financial advisory training and examination modules in 2015, and continuing professional development programs progressively thereafter.

 

To improve the alignment between the interests of consumers and financial advisers, we will be requiring all life insurers and family takaful operators to implement a balanced scorecard framework for the remuneration of agents and advisers, beginning with investment–linked products in the initial phase.  We believe it is also important that such a framework is cascaded through to how financial advisory firms are rewarding their representatives.  Incentives for individual representatives should be structured to promote impartial product advice, and investments in building enduring relationships with clients by providing the highest standards of professional service.  The AFA will be expected to play an important role in driving this initiative through its guidance to firms on the operationalisation of the framework in the context of financial advisers.

 

In the medium term, the Bank will examine the issue of the balance between fee-based and commission-based compensation for financial advisers more closely. Clearly, there is scope to augment the share of fee-based compensation of financial advisers which could help to achieve greater transparency in adviser compensation, and better alignment between the interests of financial advisers and their clients. Some countries have imposed a blanket ban on commission-based compensations for financial advisers on the premise that they induce mis-selling practices. Others have opted to draw a clearer distinction between “independent” advisers which can only receive fee-based compensations, while allowing other financial advisers to continue to receive commission-based compensations but who cannot call themselves independent financial advisers.  Our work so far suggests that there are likely to be advantages and disadvantages to both fee-based and commission-based systems.  More importantly, we do not believe that eliminating conflicts that are associated with commission-based compensations will in itself automatically improve the quality of advice.  Other factors that have an important bearing on getting better outcomes from financial advice include the financial literacy of consumers, the level of transparency that is provided to consumers, the competence of advisors and internal incentive systems which I have just discussed.

 

A further area that the Bank will pursue as part of efforts to address constraints faced by financial advisers in being able to recommend the best solutions to their clients is the expansion of the range of products that a financial adviser can represent to clients.  To this end, a specific proposal was included under the LIFE Framework to allow, without restriction, financial advisers to represent any product offered by any insurer or takaful operator.  Effectively, this would mean that an insurer or takaful operator cannot refuse to show an adviser its range of products which has been a strategy used by some companies to protect their investments in the training of their own agents and discourage them from abandoning exclusive arrangements with the company.  Of course, having access to the broadest range of products would not mean very much if advisers do not build the capacity to understand their features and effectively compare and contrast them against the specific needs of a client.  This requires greater investments by financial advisers in the training of your representatives, information systems and in building relationships with a broader network of product providers.

Let me now touch for a moment on some observations from our recently concluded fieldwork which examined the effectiveness of current mandatory disclosures in providing financial consumers with the information that they need to make financial decisions.  The study which we conducted focused on the Product Disclosure Sheet (or PDS) which financial service providers are required to provide to all consumers before they enter into a financial contract, and covered life insurance and investment-linked products, structured investments and mortgages.

 

We surveyed over 400 respondents and found that while the PDS provided by financial service providers is covering the type of information that consumers believe are important for making informed decisions, key product information is obscured in lengthy narratives, excessive information and technical or legal jargon that is difficult to understand.  Half of the respondents surveyed were not aware of the PDS while the majority of those that are aware claimed that they were given the PDS only after they had already decided to enter into a financial contract.  Many of them were not informed of its purpose.  The study also revealed a bias towards highlighting the benefits of a product in explanations given by sales agents or advisers on the product, while risks and costs were not adequately explained. It should therefore not be surprising that 75% of respondents make financial decisions without adequately considering risk factors associated with a financial product, while almost half did not understand the costs involved.   These findings are obviously a concern to the Bank as they undermine informed judgments by financial consumers.  I raise these observations today because financial advisers clearly have a key role in addressing these concerns.  Indeed, you have a professional obligation to your clients to present clear, unbiased and objective information to help your clients make informed decisions. The Bank intends to address these issues aggressively, through regulatory improvements, education, more intensive reviews of sales practices and continued enforcement actions.

 

With effect from the second half of 2015, financial advisers and insurance and takaful brokers will also be brought within the scope of the Financial Ombudsman Scheme that will be approved under the Financial Services Act, providing an avenue for consumers to address complaints against advisers for non-disclosures or misrepresentations. As I have already alluded to earlier, this is an area in which the Association and its members can and must do more to put in place mechanisms at the firm and industry level for handling complaints against services provided by financial advisory representatives, well before a dispute is escalated to the Ombudsman.

 

To help consumers navigate and compare financial products more efficiently, we are looking into the establishment of an online product aggregator to provide financial consumers with the ability to gather reliable information on a wide range of insurance products and make comparisons on simple products on a single website.  A number of issues will need to be addressed to support such an initiative and ensure that meaningful comparisons can be achieved.  Over the coming months we will be meeting with stakeholders to obtain further views on our aggregator proposals and examine options to move this initiative forward.

 

I have spoken at length this morning about our plans for the industry. In the years ahead, this industry will have an important strategic role in the ongoing transformation agenda that is being pursued for the insurance and takaful sectors.  The Bank is committed to providing a well-balanced regulatory environment that adequately protects consumers, while encouraging advisers to realise their full potential. We will continue to set a high bar on professional integrity and quality of advice, and we welcome your ideas and input on how we can continue to encourage firms to grow within the industry and bring financial advisory services to a wider spectrum of the public. The Association of Financial Advisers has a very important role in this process and has been a focal point for the Bank’s engagements with the industry.  I look forward to your continued cooperation in achieving our shared goal of developing a financial advisory industry in Malaysia that truly serves to improve the well-being of financial consumers in this more challenging environment, and one that we can all be proud of.

 

Thank you very much for your attention.

 

 

AFA 3rd Annual Conference – FA THE FUTURE

AFA conference 2014 flyer

AFA 2nd Annual Conference – “FA The Future – Rise Of The New Wave”

AFA E-Flyer 20092013

Programme & Registration

2013 AFA Conference Program 200913

AFA E Register Form 20092013

AFA President Address By Alfred Sek – AFA 2013 Annual Conference

President Speech

AFA 2013 Annual Conference

Financial Advisers The Future – Rise Of The New Wave

Alfred Sek
31 October 2013

Our guest of honour, Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Puan Jessica Chew Cheng Lian. Pengarah Jabatan Konsumer dan Amalan Pasaran of Bank Negara Malaysia, Encik Suhaimi Ali. Officials from Bank Negara Malaysia & Securities Commission. Company CEOs, Members of the Media, Fellow Financial Advisers, Distinguish Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen.

A very happy morning

AFA is now more than a year old and we are indeed very proud to be recognised as an Association to represent all the Financial Advisers in Malaysia by both Bank Negara and Securities Commission. AFA is an Association run by the members for the members. Through AFA, we are committed and united in making FA the Future. Together, we will rise to create the New Wave in this industry, and this will be the theme for today’s conference.

In today’s financial world, change is inevitable and we have to embrace these changes to survive in this competitive market environment. People who refuse to change will be changed. For example, a 100 year-old company like Kodak, fell to bankruptcy because they refuse to change. Therefore to survive in the market place today, we have to change and we can’t be a single product sales person anymore. Even banks have changed to selling insurance and investments other than just collecting deposit to meet the need of its customers.

Changes are happening everywhere in the world, even the financial services industry in Malaysia has changed and we now have the new Financial Services Act 2013 that come into force on 30th June 2013 to regulate the financial services industry. With the introduction of the new FSA and the proposed regulatory guidelines changes, we hope this will be a timely opportunity for those financial intermediaries to change and upgrade themselves to be the future Financial Advisers.

What does it mean to be Financial Advisers?

Financial Advisers are approved by Bank Negara and Securities Commission to provide financial planning advice on a wide range of financial products and services from different product providers to meet the need of the consumers.

As financial products like insurance and unit trust are becoming more sophisticated, the industry now needs full-time qualified and experience professionals to advice the consumers.  Therefore, AFA would propose that the minimum entry requirement guidelines for approved Financial Adviser Representative be reviewed so that we can have more approved advisers nationwide to better serve the demanding needs of today’s knowledgeable consumers.

Whilst the FA business has many positives, it is the journey to scale and achieve profitability that may have taken too long relative to other opportunities. Moving forward with the full support provided by both the regulators and product providers, I strongly believe that the Financial Advisory industry can be driven to greater heights in the future.

AFA has come a long way since it was established one year ago. We have a number of fruitful meeting with the regulators and have also organised two very successful practise management series to enhance the skill and knowledge of the Financial Advisers. The exco committee has been working very hard and we will continue to work hard to make AFA a professional association that will help our members build their business. On top of that, we will also be the most effective voice to represent all Financial Advisers in Malaysia.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, now is the time to ask what can be done by you to make FA the Future. Let us work together towards building a financial advisory industry dedicated to transform lives through proper financial advice for the people of Malaysia.

Like what Martin Luther King once said “I HAVE A DREAM THAT ONE DAY AMERICA WILL HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT” and here “I HAVE A DREAM THAT ONE DAY MALAYSIA WILL HAVE FINANCIAL ADVISER AS THE NO.1 CAREER”. I hope my dream will come true.

AFA would not have achieved so much without the support of its members and the commitment of our Exco committees. I would like to take this opportunity to give my salute and sincere appreciation to all of them. So Ladies and Gentlemen, can you please join me in giving them a round of applause. Thank you

Before I conclude, I would like to give a special thank to our Guest of Honor Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia Puan Jessica Chew Cheng Lian, for gracing AFA conference. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all our speakers, special guest, generous sponsors, supporting organisations, participants, organising committees and all those who have contributed to make this conference a success.

Hope today’s conference will be another ground breaking event for AFA in making FA The Future for the Rise of The New Waves.

Thank you..