John Trowbridge to chair FSC-AFA life insurance working group

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Former APRA Member, Mr John Trowbridge, has been appointed independent chairman of the Life Insurance and Advice Working Group established by the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Financial Services Council (FSC).

The working group will address issues such as the quality of advice, product design and remuneration structures which were raised in ASIC’s Review of Retail Life Insurance and Advice report released on 9 October.

As independent chair, Mr Trowbridge will convene the working group and facilitate industry and policy solutions. The group will specifically address retail life insurance product structures, financial advice and distribution practices.

Brad Fox, CEO of the AFA said: “Mr Trowbridge brings extensive knowledge of Australia’s regulatory system to the Working Group. This will be pivotal in assisting the group to develop sustainable and workable solutions for stakeholders.”

Mr Trowbridge’s experience spans the private and public aspects of the financial system and ranges from competition in retail financial services, to capital structure issues, system stability and regulation. From 2006 to 2010 Mr Trowbridge was one of three Members of APRA’s executive where he was responsible for life and general insurance and executive remuneration. He was a pioneer of general insurance actuarial work in Australia and held senior management roles with QBE and Suncorp. In 1981 he started Trowbridge Consultingwhich became a leading actuarial firm in Australasia and which merged with Deloitte in 2000. Also, after merging with a US firm (Tillinghast) in 1984, he gained extensive experience in life insurance and, on deregulation of banking.

Mr Trowbridge said: “The ASIC report points to some important issues for consumers and the broader Australian community. These are complex and difficult issues for the life insurance and advice industries to solve.”

“I applaud the Association of Financial Advisers and the Financial Services Council in taking the initiative to set up a Working Group which will make a concerted effort to find durable solutions in consultation with all stakeholders.”

“I am delighted to contribute to this initiative through leadership of the Working Group,” he said.

The Working Group will include three representatives from the FSC and three from the AFA. The FSC’s representatives will be: John Brogden – FSC CEO; Andrew Hagger – group executive, NAB Wealth and CEO of MLC Limited; and Geoff Summerhayes – CEO of Suncorp Life.  AFA representatives will include: Brad Fox – AFA CEO; John de Zwart – CEO of Centrepoint Alliance and Jeff Thurecht – AFA NSW State Director.

A public report on the group’s initial findings will be released in mid-December and a final report in February 2015. The Working Group will consult with the regulators and Parliament on its recommendations.

John Brogden, CEO of the FSC said: “We take the findings in the ASIC report very seriously.”

“It is important that consumer trust and confidence in financial advice and products is restored to ensure Australians have sufficient life insurance cover.”

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