Meet the regulators

Day two of the 2018 NIBA Convention opened with the regulators. Joanna Bird from ASIC, John Price from AFCA, and David Duffield, Industry Representative of the IBCCC discussed impending reforms and how they will impact the broking profession.

Joanna Bird, Senior Executive Leader – Financial Advisers, ASIC, opened the regulatory session yesterday by acknowledging the broad and intense scrutiny of financial services at present.

Bird said there are community concerns about culture, standards and conduct: “We’ve seen poor conduct in the financial services sector, highlighted by regulators, media attention, and of course, the Royal Commission.”

Bird added that against the current background, we’ve seen a slew of changes or enhancements to ASIC’s enforcement and powers, including increased fines and powers to take action.

She concluded her address with some words on how the industry as a whole can restore trust and the opportunities in the market for firms that can do just that.

“It’s no surprise to everyone that there is a lack of trust in the financial services sector, and I suspect you’re sitting there thinking, it’s not my fault, and why am I a victim of this? We all need to get over that feeling of unfairness and collectively work together to try to restore consumers’ trust in the financial services industry.”

John Price, Lead Ombudsman – General Insurance, AFCA, took the opportunity to prepare brokers for the changes they’ll observe as FOS transitions to AFCA. These will include:

  • Provisions for superannuation complaints – jurisdiction and process
  • Monetary limit and compensation cap increases
  • Small business jurisdiction changes
  • Reporting obligations
  • Independent Assessor function

Price said that in term of disputes, brokers are not on their radar.

“The dispute numbers have dropped – last year we received 181 disputes from brokers, a very small number. The previous year 216, so down about 16 per cent. The year before that around 250, so it’s been dropping. Of those disputes that get to a decision, 73 per cent are being found in favour of the broker.”

Finally, David Duffield, Industry Representative on the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee, took to the lectern to update delegates on the current work of the Committee, and the review of the code that is currently underway.

Duffield walked brokers through a number of findings and recommendations that came off the back of the IBCCC report on professionalism and competency: “Competency based training is as equally important as educational qualifications.”

Duffield said the committee is looking forward to working with NIBA on the current Code review.

“Codes are about continual improvement and doing more than the bare minimum,” he added.

NIBA would like to thank Joanna Bird, John Price and David Duffield for presenting.