News in Brief

  • Evalesco Shifts Licensee
  • AIA Australia Health Insurance Brand Open for Business
  • ASIC Accepts Enforceable Undertaking from Findex

Evalesco Shifts Licensee

Sydney based financial advice practice, Evalesco Financial Services, will move from its current licensee, Professional Investment Services (PIS,) to a management owned boutique advice group.

Evalesco Director, Jeff Thurecht

Evalesco Director, Jeff Thurecht

Evaleso Director, Jeff Thurecht said the move from PIS, after 10 years, to Australian Advice Network was driven by the need for more control over the advice on offer to clients and the licensee was no longer a good fit for the business.

“We’re the ones that have changed. We no longer fit snuggly within the PIS model. Their large scale processes have to be rigid to work across hundreds of advisers, and we’ve reached a point where we need flexibility and agility,” Thurecht said, adding Evalesco would access some services through Centrepoint Alliances’ self-licensee solutions division, Associated Advisory Practices.

“We believe we can offer our clients better service if we are involved in making the decisions about the types of advice we provide and the partners, services and products we work with,” he said.

AAN was established two years ago by three advisory businesses and is owned and operated by the directors of the four adviser businesses, Centaur Financial Services, Robina Financial Solutions, Guide Financial and now Evalesco Financial Services.

 

AIA Australia Health Insurance Brand Open for Business

AIA Australia has opened its health insurance business, under the myOwn brand, to consumers, after initially conducting a pilot program with six financial advice groups (see: Advisers to Receive Fees for myOwn Health Insurance Referrals).

The health insurance offering will be bundled with the life insurer’s AIA Vitality program and is the result of an alliance between AIA Australia; not-for-profit health fund GMHBA; and South African financial services provider Discovery (see: AIA Moves Into Health Insurance Space).

AIA Australia Chief Executive, Damien Mu said this approach was designed to present insurance in a different way and shift them from seeing it as something to use when things went wrong.

“myOwn supports customers to be well, get well, and protect their future. With myOwn offering health insurance with AIA Vitality, we support people to know their health, improve their health and enjoy the rewards,” Mu said.

 

Findex Agrees to Enforceable Undertaking

ASIC has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) from Financial Index Australia (FIA) after it found the advice group had moved clients from an existing product into a more expensive FIA branded product, without sufficient explanation or justification.

The move follows surveillance by ASIC, which examined FIA’s policies, procedures and client advice files and identified a number of concerns including out-of-date policies and procedures, deficiencies in the file audit process, and insufficient information being provided to clients being moved into new products.

According to the EU, the inhouse products were a range of super, pension and investment products offered through a wrap account and labelled with inhouse brands from FIA.

ASIC stated that FIA’s Adviser Incentive Scheme was likely to encourage representatives to switch clients from existing third party products to FIA’s own branded product.

The regulator also found the majority of clients whose files were reviewed were moved from an existing third party product to a more expensive FIA branded product without adequate explanation as to why the move would leave the client in a better position. Where justifications were provided, ASIC found this were in the form of a generic statement that the FIA branded product would achieve higher long-term returns.

ASIC also found that in the cases reviewed the Statements of Advice provided to clients did not include the additional information required when an adviser recommends replacing one product with another and there was a lack of detailed enquiries into the client’s personal circumstances, financial needs and objectives.

Under the EU, FIA acknowledged that ASIC’s concerns were reasonable and has agreed to engage an independent expert to review client files, and remediate clients where appropriate.