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29 Jul 2011, 9.46PM
I applaud MAS for seeing the importance of  protecting  the investors against the rogue financial product salesmen but why life insurance products are not included? In fact, the bulk of mis-selling and abuse and misrepresentation can be found in the sale of seemingly harmless life products.
Is MAS aware that life insurance agents treat or consider their customers as savvy and require only product advice so that they can get away pushing high commission products?
Are roadsweepers, kitchen helpers, factory workers, professors and doctors considered savvy or knowledgeable in life insurance that they need only product information to buy without advice?
MAS, if you care about fair dealing outcome or that the insurance companies are complying with fair dealing outcome  guidelines please check them by giving them  surprised audits.
I know the companies are circumventing the guidelines because I am an adviser with a local insurer and observed the daily breaches of the law. The company is pushing their salesmen to push high commission products without fact find and wihtout putting the customers' need first.Product pushing assumes that customers are savvy and therefore the insurance salesmen need not conduct need analysis and comply with reasonable basis of the their recommendation. The truth is the salesmen want to push high commission products. Does a road sweeper know about life insurance? And yet he is considered savvy and requiring product information only as if he has conducted his own need analysis. Can he?
Please, MAS, impose the Customer Knowledge Assessment requirement on life insurance too to stop the conflict of interest and mis-selling. You don't have to believe me, conduct your own investigation.
 comments & replies
7 Aug 2011, 12.50AM
Aug 6, 2011
Banks acting like insurers? Industry body replies
WE THANK Ms Jessie Loy for her letter ('Banks should not act like insurance agents'; July 25).
Banks distribute a wide array of financial products to meet  the investment and protection needs of their customers. This is not only because of commercial tie-ups with their business partners, but more
importantly, it is also the intention of banks to leverage their  distribution networks to provide their customers with convenience and  access to more product offerings.
Notwithstanding the commercial tie-ups, banks do ensure that the process of fact-finding and financial needs *****ysis is diligently conducted before recommending any financial products to their customers.
In addition, banks regularly review the product offerings of  their insurance partners to ensure that the products offered are  suitable for their target customer segments.

Ong-Ang Ai Boon (Mrs)
Association of Banks in Singapore
It is a relief that the ABS Director has replied to the complaint by Ms Jessie Loy about bank RMs behaving like insurance agents and assuring that the banks' RMs should conduct fact find and need *****ysis before recommending any financial products to ensure suitability to the customers.
The biggest question is 'do banks' RMs conduct fact find and *****ysis before the recommendation of products?
The answer is NO,NO, NO, NO, NO, NO NO  but instead the product is pushed upfront like the insurance agents. That is why Ms Loy complained that the banks RMs'   are no different from the insurance agents.They don't care about your needs but their own needs,ie the commission.
Why is that so?
The truth is bank RMs also want to earn high commission like their counterparts in the insurance companies and therefore it makes sense to push products with high commission to shorten sales cycle.
So you can see that commission is driving the 'recommendation' and not the needs of the customers.
MAS, what are you waiting for? It is so self evident that the commission is the root of all mis-selling and conflict of interest and evils...Is it a wonder why Singaporeans are under insured and unable to retire?
7 Aug 2011, 11.43AM
MAS must apply the Customer Knowledge Assessment on all insurance agents pushing insurance products and enforce section 27 of the FAA to protect the consumers. it is time now. The consumers have been conned for decades and it is time to weed out the salesmen and the conmen and women of the financial industry.. There are so much evidence against the insurance agents and yet the regulator is watching idly.
4 Aug 2011, 11.34PM
There should be mandatory safeguards for customers without the relevant knowledge or experience to purchase life insurance products other than the unlisted SIPs
i. FIs must assess if customers have the necessary knowledge or experience
MAS must require FIs to conduct a Customer Knowledge Assessment before selling life insurance like whole life endowment and other traditional par insurance  to customers. Under the Customer Knowledge Assessment framework, FIs are required to obtain information from the customer to enable them to assess if a customer has the relevant knowledge or experience to understand the risks, benefits, intricacies and features of life insurance  product. The information to be collected includes whether the customer has:
 finance/insurance -related background relevant to the product or similar products, which includes relevant educational qualifications;
life insurance / investment experience in the product or similar products; or  work experience directly related to the product or similar products.
The above should be applied to consumers looking for life insurance. Why? It is well known that insurance agents who push product upfront and to justify  that the customers are savvy, knowledgeable about life insurance the agents make the customers choose the product advice option, which makes the customers look like they know about life insurance and know what they want and that they only want product information to evaluate the suitability.
Is it true?The truth is the customers don't know what they are ticking and the implication and they are actually  'advised' or conned into by the agents to tick the option which is not made known to the customers  that it disadvantages them.

 Why agents do this unethical and unfair thing? It is because they want to push a product with the highest  commission and the customers don't know that they are being SOLD a product that pays the agents very high commission although it is required by the FAA that the commission has to  be disclosed. Does MAS know that the insurance companies' compliance is teaching their agents that they need not  disclose if they are not asked?( ie. tell only when asked otherwise pretend or to distract the customers). I hope MAS sees the necessity to safeguard the consumers of life insurance products against rogue agents who never have the interest of the consumers at heart. I am sure MAS is quite aware  that because of this conflict of interest that Singaporeans are still grossly under insured and worse a lot of money is squandered on inefficient wholelife and par insurance resulting in neglect in other needs like retirement.MAS must put a stop to this practice that benefits the salesmen and their companies which never have the interest of their customers instead they make use of their army of salesmen to con the unwary consumers and their trusting policyholders.
Please do the right thing right by banning commission.
4 Aug 2011, 10.51AM
Reported in the press a rich man but UNEDUCATED was mis-sold and not disclosed of the risk of the product recommended to him. Again here the product was bought  on TRUST and not on informed decision.
Therefore, in situation like this  honesty and competence of the adviser is very important, ie (1)
the adviser must be honest and put the interest of the client first (2) the adviser must be competent and ensure the product recommended must be suitable and meet the reasonable basis..
This type of cases are very common and in fact , 99% of all cases come under this group, the unsavvy, the clueless, the vulnerable and easily exploitable. This vast group of consumers need protection from the salesmen who pretend to be advisers , financial consultants in finance and investment. The 99% of the consumers are the ordinary folks and man in the street and the more important their hard earned money must be protected from unethical and unscrupulous insurance salesmen, the salesmen disguised financial consultants and the conmen and women.
I hope MAS will come down hard on these salesmen who have no qualms to fleece the folks of their money.
Rules are only good when they are enforced and hope MAS will actively check the insurance companies and their salesmen. If MAS is serious it will be richly rewarded with many many cases of malpractices that are rampant in the industry, especially in the insurance companies.
3 Aug 2011, 6.18PM
Yes, the Customer Knowledge Assessment(CKA) must be extended to life insurance products to stop all forms of conflict of interest and mis-selling and exploitation of ignorance , *****ity and trust  of consumers.Insurance salesmen and insurance companies never have interest and intention to put the interest of consumers first.
By applying the CKA to all life insurance it is a step to eliminating the unethical and unscrupulous practices of the insurance agents and the companies and level the playing field.
2 Aug 2011, 10.47AM
All these new regulations are unnecessary if MAS has regulated stringently and seriously in the past.Many of the guidelines introduced have been openly flouted by insurance companies and agents and yet no enforcement. If MAS really seriously about weeding out unethical practices MAS should audit the insurance companies and the individual agents. Daringly fine them like FSA has been doing. Malpractices are so blatant that if MAS were to throw a stone they will sure to hit one agent or company that committed breaches of the guidelines. Also if the guidelines are not enforced why have them.
 Are the guidelines meant to show MAS is regulating? that it is protecting consumers? From all past observations one appropriate word to describe it is B U L L S H I T
. Soon everything will be forgotten. Everything will be normal and all salesmen and the companies will be back to what they have been doing. Happily LIA will report robust sale of ILPs and regular par insurance products.
2 Aug 2011, 9.57PM
The  so called CKA is another wayang. Where got regulate? If there were regulating and enforcement there is no need for CKA. Everybody knows, even the agents themselves know their fellow blatantly breached all guidelines issued since 2001.What about the insurance companies? They also don't care so long these rogues bring in the sale to increase their market share and bottomline. From the salesmen to their immediate supervisors and higher supervisors to the compliance and to the CEO all close their eyes as if they ganged up to cheat the poor consumers.Indeed they do cheat the consumers.
30 Jul 2011, 11.26PM
Best Bargain Must BUY: ILP
I had just received my ILP half yearly statement today.
I bought this policy from my friend when I first graduated from Uni when I have zero financial knowledge.
I was told that is good as it incorporate both investment and protection. It sound so wonderful to me then.
Let me share how "wonderful" this ILP is.
t is the "best" investment that I had ever invested in.
Policy Title: Manulife Flexi Aggressive portfolio.

Started from Aug 08, deducted $200 every month.
Change to $150/mth on Dec 09
Total premium paid to date: $6250
Current cash value as of July 2011: $1801.45
% gain/(loss): -71.18%
Where can you find such marvellous investment? Even my healthway which
is currently at 40% loss cannot fight the 71.18%. Furthermore, you have
no control over it.
This is the best investment cum protection plan that you can ever have. Please remember to sign up for it and get free 71.18%
30 Jul 2011, 11.55PM
The traditional wholelife  is even better. They don't tell you and you don't know that you have lost 2 years of premium. Wonderful, isn't it? It is also called a protection and saving plan. You saving isn't yours until you terminate it, wonderful or wonderfool, right?
30 Jul 2011, 10.59PM
MAS, the exams to be taken by insurance agents and all advisers no use one. Like all tikam tikam exams set by SCI this  CKA exam also same same, tikam tikam even monkeys and our pet dogs can pass also. Take or no take no make any difference to these salesmen and snakeoil conmen. They sure can go around whatever regulatory barriers you can put up.Their companies will help them.
They will again tikam tikam for their customers, like before. What do they know about investment? They are very clever to advise their clients when to buy, when to take profit and then when to buy in again. They are so good that they put even Warren Buffett to shame or Benjamin Graham.
If you are serious about safeguarding the investors make these insurance salesmen take investment studies at minimum diploma level if not degree level.  .
30 Jul 2011, 11.00AM
I hope MAS will consider including all life insurance products for this Customers Knowledge Assessment.
In fact, the flouting of the fair dealing outcome guidelines is very bad in the sale of  traditional life insurance products.The salesmen put their every customer as experts and knowlegeable and therefore no need to conduct fact find and analysis to determine their needs.Very often the products recommended do not meet the reasonable basis and the products are usually high commission products. In other words , the objective of making the customers look savvy is to peddle high commission products that benefit the salesmen. This has to be stopped by MAS or else Singaporeans will continue to be under insured and unable to meet their retirement needs.
I am not surprised that the next LIA report will again show low sum assured being sold by these unscrupulous insurance salesmen and their companies who are in cahoot with them. What is the point of telling the whole world that the sale of life insurance has gone up but people are still under insured .LIA should be courageous enough to come out to address this problem. LIA must admit that the under insurance is due to conflict of interest, greed and incompetence of the salesmen and also the care less attitude of the companies. Companies often speak through their A S S when they say they are ' people before profit' . They double talk and their actions show otherwise.
MAS must consider applying this 'Customers Knowledge Assessment' to life insurance too or ban commission from all financial products to stop the malpractices in this industry. Why do you think that every graduate wants to join this indutry? Is it because they are very passionate about helping people to achieve their financial goals? How do they help when they have very little knowledge of financail planning? It is load of crap, isn't it? The truth is it is a get rich quick business and glib tongue and daringness to say and  do anything is key to earning big buck.. Lying , non disclosure, telling half truth and confusing are techinigues employed to con their customers into buying the products they are pushing. There are no safe guards to protect the customers. The customers are clueless and vulnerable to conmanship.
Product pushing ignores the interest and goals of the customers. Only the interest of salesmen and their company is served by product peddling. This is rampant as companies compete for #1 in production and as a result ethics and the interest of the customers are flushed into the toilet bowl.It is uncommon the companies push their salesmen to push ONLY high commission products. To further incentivise them the companies dangle a lot of incentives to lure into committing conflict of interest and other unethical practices.Wonder who pays for them?
Please help the customers and protect them against the salesmen and the insurance companies.
30 Jul 2011, 11.46AM
Correction in last paragraph , line 3.
It should read as

"It is NOT uncommon the companies push their salesmen to push ONLY high commission products."
30 Jul 2011, 6.31PM
Soon LIA will release its quarterly report and the content is a foregone conclusion.In all likelihood the report will have some semblance to the  forecast report as below.

1.The president will say that he is very pleased and excited that despite the shrinking economic growth, the Greek credit crisis and US face off over debt ceiling the life industry has achieved robust sale of 50% YOY.
The factors contributing to the robust growth are
*.The consumers are getting more comatose and selling was a breeze because they are easily missled into buying more wholelife and other par products which they didn't know that these products will not meet their goals but only give high commission to their trusted agents.
*.The salesmen are better trained  and have acquired greater skill in conmanship and other dubious skills that shortened the pushing and peddling cycle.
2.the sale of regular premium products shot through the roof because the companies focused on only the high commission and high API products.
3. the single premium products also jumped because many uncles and aunties withdrew their  CPF in lumpsum to invest in single premium endowment which promised to preserve the value. But unfortunately inflation of 5.5% in July eroded their hard earned money.
4.The best news is cases submitted with full or partial fact find have increased to an unbeleivable 95%. This means comatoase consumers were more aware of the benefits of disclosing more information for their trusted agents to plan which products that could give them higher commission. This is in compliance with regulatory requirement .
5. Unfortunately there are certain data which we can't disclose at this point in time because we are too shy to reveal . Secondly they are not for public consumption.. We only tell you good news to fellow members and the news that public want to hear. You know, the sum assured thing and the claim stuff not so nice to disclose. Yes , we know Singaporeans are still under insured despite donkey decades but we promise we will look into that. We know that many consumers are unable to retire because they bought too much whole life products and low return endowment  . We will also see how to increase the returns of these products but that will drastically affect the earning of the greedy and unconciencious  agents.
6. We hope you understand us. We are trying to earn a living but unfortunately our earning comes from the hard earned money of the man in the street.
7. Last but not least, we will try to help our salesmen to live up to their tiltles shown in their name card.We are trying to standardise the titles so all salesmen will look like financial experts in life insurance and investment. We have to because the new Customer Knowledge Assessment requirement  has forced to change.

30 Jul 2011, 12.04AM
Ah Pek, Ah Sohs, aunties and old folks all know about life insurance , so no need life insurance knowledge assessment. Ask the aunties in the Mcdonald kitchen they can tell you all about life insurance, leh. They are experts and that is why they need only product info and no need advice from the insurance conmen so they can con them of the highest commission products.
Got protection got saving and only pay 10 years and you are covered for life until you 100 years old or more. WOW!!!!! can  buy can buy...i introduce my colleagues to buy but got commission for me or not, ah?
30 Jul 2011, 12.36PM
I was shocked to know that a 60 year old couple were sold a limited payment wholelife with premium of $20K per pax. How? How did this very convincing agent do it? Madness..he or she must be sent to jail
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