Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Does your adviser take care of your interest?

I met a senior manager of a life insurance company in Malaysia. They sell their products through their advisers (agents) and through the bank.

They offer a better return on their product sold through the bank, as the regulator sets a maximum commission that can be paid through this channel.

For the same product sold through their advisers, they give higher commission to the agents and charge higher premium to their customers. They leave it to their advisers to convince the customers on the "value of the product".

I am disturbed that the adviser is willing to offer the same product at a higher premium to the customer. After all, they are supposed to take care of their customer.

Does this situation apply in Singapore? I think that our situation may be worse for customers. The commission rates paid in Singapore for advisers and through the bank channels are higher than in Malaysia for similar products.

NTUC Income operates differently. We keep our commission rates at a modest level, to give a modest income to the advisers. We give a higher return to our customers, on their savings.

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