28 May 2015
For Immediate Release
28 May 2015
Financial Alliance and Competition Law
Financial Alliance, along with a few other financial advisory firms, has been issued a Proposed Infringement Decision by the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) over an incident that may be regarded as anti-competitive conduct.
Back in April 2013, iFAST Financial Pte Ltd (“iFAST”) had prominently prioritised commission rebates over product suitability in their marketing collateral on their website, Fundsupermart. The Association of Financial Advisers (Singapore) (“AFAS”) was one of the parties who, through Financial Alliance, expressed disappointment to iFAST out of concern that their marketing approach will not only mislead consumers but also tarnish the financial advisory industry’s ethical and professional standing and violate anti-inducement guidelines and practice.
“It is unfortunate that, in the attempt to uphold a long standing practice among financial advisory practitioners and to safeguard consumers from potentially misleading marketing material, Financial Alliance, a member of the AFAS Executive Committee, may be seen by CCS to have infringed competition law. Nevertheless, we are reviewing the CCS’s decision and may make representations to clarify the context with CCS,” said Mr Vincent Ee, Managing Director of Financial Alliance.
“It has never been the objective of Financial Alliance to suppress competition in the financial advisory industry,” said Mr Ee. “Quite the opposite, we wish more financial advisory firms are set up to reach out to the population, spur the industry’s professional development and give consumers more choices in ethical ways.”
The company’s stand on commission rebate
Financial Alliance firmly believes that consumers’ interests ought to be protected from the use of commission rebates as an inducement.
Life insurance should be purchased based on needs. Offering a commission rebate as an inducement is unethical as it could mislead consumers into making wrong decisions by committing into insurance products at the spur of the moment without carefully considering their needs and affordability.
As such, a commission rebate does not work like a supermarket rebate, which is direct and has no long term implications. If this rebate issue is not handled with care, the fear is that consumers’ trust in the financial advisory industry will be undermined in the long run.
“Ultimately, consumers’ financial decisions and financial advisers’ recommendations should be made on a sound and reasonable basis rather than be unduly influenced by the potentially misleading emphasis on commission rebates,” Mr Ee added.
Financial Alliance actively supports efforts to raise the professional standard of the financial advisory industry practitioners. Among these are MAS’ Financial Advisory Industry Review (“FAIR”) and Anti-Money Laundering initiatives. Financial Alliance remains focused on enabling consumers to be financially healthy by guiding them away from potential pitfalls in their financial planning and wealth management endeavours.
About Financial Alliance Pte Ltd
Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) is a leading independent financial advisory (“IFA”) firm licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore offering comprehensive and unbiased financial advice to consumers and organisations.
FAPL is known in the industry for its strong system and processes, professionalism, integrity, innovation and financial standing. FAPL is an award-winning IFA that has garnered these accolades: Professional Enterprise Award, Singapore Quality Class Star and the People Developer and Singapore SME 1000 company (2015).
Address: 2 Bukit Merah Central, #10-00, Singapore 159835
Telephone: +65 6222 1889
For further information, please visit www.fa.com.sg.