Latest Poll – Offshore Adviser Conferences


Life companies should no longer offer overseas conference incentives for advisers

  • Agree (48%)
  • Disagree (44%)
  • Not sure (8%)

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Out latest poll is based around recent announcements about the future of offshore adviser conferences.

Partners Life MD Naomi Ballantyne …has placed a stake in the ground to address the public reputation of the NZ life insurance industry

Until quite recent times, offshore conferences for advisers have been an accepted part of the Kiwi life insurance industry landscape. But declarations made by AMP and now Partners Life have brought the question of such incentives into sharp public focus.

Both sides of this argument have been well-articulated by Partners Life MD, Naomi Ballantyne.

The Benefits

In a release announcing next year’s Conference in Cambodia and Vietnam would be the last offshore conference for Partners Life, Ballantyne noted that such events have always provided insights that spur innovation and offer great networking opportunities for advisers (see: Partners Life Ends Off-Shore Conferences).

The Drawbacks

At the same time, though, Ballantyne highlighted the potential damage that such soft-dollar incentives may now be having on the reputation of the sector:

…we have also heard repeatedly, and increasingly more assertively, from our regulators that soft dollar incentives such as offshore conferences for advisers are causing reputational damage to the New Zealand financial services industry.

…The notion that a conflict of interest may exist is enough to create reputational damage

Sometimes there doesn’t need to exist an actual conflict of interest for something to have a reputational impact. Just the notion that a conflict of interest may exist is enough to create reputational damage, regardless of whether that conflict is real or perceived.

Do offshore conference incentives for advisers fit that bill? If so, do you agree they should be consigned to history?

Or do you think the world has gone collectively nuts with political correctness and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with life companies rewarding advisers for their support?

To what extent have you written business in the past with one or two insurers because you’ve been motivated, at least in part, to qualify for overseas trips? Is there anything wrong with having done so? Have your clients’ best interests always been served?

We could go on, but prefer to hand the discussion to you. Let us know what you think and we’ll report back next week…