AIA Engages Bernie Ripoll on Industry Direction, Commissions Agenda


In declaring its support for the retention of risk commissions, AIA Australia has retained the services of former politician and Future of Financial Services reform architect, Bernie Ripoll, to work with the financial services sector in developing long-term policy solutions.

AIA Australia & NZ CEO, Damien Mu …unequivocal support for the perpetuation of risk commissions

The insurer has recently conducted the first in a series of industry engagements, chaired by Ripoll, which it intends to help initiate and progress thinking on the future of the industry.

One element of the stand-alone insurer’s agenda is the retention of life insurance commissions as a valid remuneration option for advisers.

This agenda was articulated in a message to advisers by AIA Australia and NZ CEO, Damien Mu, in which he declared the insurer’s unequivocal support for the perpetuation of risk commissions.

Mu told advisers in April that his company was considering the recommendations stemming from the Banking Royal Commission and that there was a clear need to develop a strong and united industry voice to advocate for:

  • The quality of risk advice
  • Better value and choice for consumers
  • The importance of appropriate adviser remuneration, including supporting the existing legislative framework for commissions and remuneration
FoFA architect, Bernie Ripoll

“As an industry, we need to continue to build awareness amongst policy makers, the media and consumers of the value of risk advice…,” said Mu.

He continued, “The action we will be taking will centre on engaging directly with key stakeholders, advocacy, and carrying out research to support the future sustainability of the industry.

“We will also then arrange a series of events that will elevate the issues of adviser remuneration and the importance of supporting the commission framework and ensuring risk advice remains accessible for as many Australians as possible.”

Mu added that the value of advice and advisers will be a priority issue for AIA Australia in 2019: “We want to deepen our partnership with you, so that we can collectively advocate for the advice industry,” he said.


  1. AIA is advocating for “supporting the existing legislative framework for commissions and remuneration”. Damien, are you referring to the current 70/20 commission split and the 60/20 split as from 2020? If you are, then that is not enough. If you are serious about retaining commissions, then you MUST fight to have them reinstated and get rid of this 2 year clawback. Anything less is not acceptable by the adviser network.

  2. Damien, your support of the commission framework is welcomed, though it is a bit like an officer on the Titanic suggesting to the Captain after hitting the Iceberg, that moving the deck chairs may help the situation.

    There is an opportunity to avoid the Retail Life Insurance Industry sinking and it is a very simple fix.

    1) Keep the 2 year responsibility for any policy lapse instigated by the adviser to get a higher commission and make it a One year responsibility for any other reasons.

    2) Change the FASEA requirements, so risk advisers only need to study risk related topics and experience will be included to determine the adviser capability. ( Not a bit of paper )

    The Life Insurance Industry has caused this FIASCO and it has been proven that the reasoning behind the current onerous and unworkable environment adviser practices face, was false and now it is time for the Life Industry to accept that if they want to have a future, then start listening to the advisers and tell the Government that we have reached an impasse and unless the above 2 points are addressed, then there will be a mass exodus of advisers and all Australians and Australia will be much worse off.

    Lobbying the Government to rearrange the deck chairs, will still have the same inevitable result and once thousands of experienced advisers exit and tens of thousands of staff are retrenched, it is too late and will cause an exodus of more Life Companies, limit competition and the end result will be the exact opposite of the stated objectives, which was to provide a better outcome for all Australians.

    • united effort with the financial and resource support of insurers, to help the government understand the harm that the banning of insurance commissions will cause.

      Is AFA prepared to unite the FPA and insurers, and lead this effort for the public’s best interest!

    • I am at a loss as to the cognitive ability of those who think they understand this industry. The life insurance companies are at the bottom of the commission structures,not advisers….and the Government officials have a socialist agenda which if pursued will see everyone..consumers advisers and product providers losers in everyway.

  3. Love your comments Jeremy.

    FoFA more than FSRA [before it] was the beginning of the end.

    Asking Ripoli now is akin to asking BS [Bill Shorten] to chair a committee around increasing commissions back to 130% [first year].

    I’ve already commented today under ClearView support of commissions – that a 2 year responsibility period is a contra-indicator to best duties interests – especially when life offices are jacking up premium rates for pre-01/01/2018 issued policies – and will no doubt jack up the post 31/12/2017 premium rates after 31/12/2020!

    FASEA is the real destroyer of risk insurance advice. But it’s done & dusted – so that’s why after 43 years I’m selling my business!

    • I don’t want to make any outrageous comments but Bernie Ripol as far as I can remember was the instigator of all “hands on deck “ to attack the evil adviser and their outrageous commissions FOFA?
      Really AIA ?? Surely you have people in your employ that can guide you ? Ask your advisers they have more idea than some you think have the answers

  4. Mortgage Brokers were successful in getting the government AND opposition to disregard the Royal Commission’s recommendation to ban upfront and trail commissions because the public would have been worse off and winners would have been the big banks.

    They succeeded because their two main associations worked TOGETHER and got the support of small banks and non-bank lenders both in terms of funding and resources.

    Can the AFA and FPA PLEASE work together with the insurers to meet with the Treasury Josh Frydenberg and the Financial services ministerial team to help them understand that the logic is identical when it comes to the Royal Commission’s recommendation to ban Personal Insurances commissions because in this instance the big winners will be the superannuation funds whose insurance cover is typically more expensive and provides less cover and the losers will be the consumer who is not willing or unable to pay a fee for service for good financial and risk advice.

    Various insurers individually putting up with whitepapers to state why banning commissions is bad for the public, has limited effectiveness.

    The FPA rolling over and saying “we support the Royal Commission’s recommendations” is counterproductive to the cause.

    What is needed is a united effort led by the two main associations with the financial and resource support of insurers, to help the government understand the harm that banning insurance commissions will cause and why the Royal Commission’s recommendation recommendation to ban upfront and trail commissions is NOT in the public’s best interest?

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