Update from FSC CEO Sally Loane - It has been a massive few months across all portfolios and there is no sign of things slowing down.
Our members’ businesses - across superannuation, funds management, advice and life insurance - continue to be impacted by dozens of levers applied variously by regulators and other enforcement bodies; Government, and the courts. As well, there are significant market shifts underway, such as the merging of mega-super funds, and a growing trend by super funds to in-house management of funds.
We continue to value highly the commitment of FSC members - stronger together under the only industry association across all financial services - who work with us, and where relevant, with other industry associations, to solve the many issues that are emerging - some because of market changes, others because of too-hasty drafting of legislation and regulations.
As one of our fund managers said about our policy development work: “Decisions are made by those who show up.”
The impact of mental health on our community has reached unprecedented levels, with one in five Australians affected by mental illness every year. In a recent opinion piece I outlined that mental health counts for a staggering 24 per cent of total and permanent disability claims for life insurers. Given this, the FSC engaged KPMG to dig deeper into the underlying causes of mental health. The released numbers from our life insurance data project, which you can read here, are significant and reaffirm that bold action is needed by all of us. This KPMG/FSC data collection initiative is ground breaking – it is unsurpassed anywhere in the world and will continue to be updated every six months to provide life insurers with the knowledge and data to best help Australians in times of need. Our up to date and accurate statistics on life insurance claims will increasingly inform the public debate and the development of better policy - a significant achievement, albeit with more work to do.
We recently launched a research paper on the Impact of Psychosocial factors on Mental Health and a guide to the Prevention of Elder Financial Abuse – read more below.
We have welcomed to the Policy team Zach Castles, Policy Manger for Advice, and Vincent So, Policy Manger for Investment and Global Markets - both have come to us with a great deal of experience in political campaigning and strategy. Two more policy managers will be joining the team and I will introduce them in due course.
Jen Driscoll, Chief Executive Officer for AllianceBernstein Australia, has been appointed to the FSC Board. Jen is a successful leader and brings to the Board an enormous amount of experience and knowledge in financial services.
FSC Guide on the Prevention of Elder Financial Abuse
The FSC’s Guide on the Prevention of Elder Financial Abuse was launched last month, signaling an important step by the financial services sector towards ending the financial abuse of older Australians. The guide is a starting point for non-banking financial services organisations to identify, address and prevent the financial abuse of their older clients and customers
Download a copy here.
The Impact of Psychosocial factors on Mental Health
During mental health month (October) the FSC launched a research paper which is vital evidence that the life insurance industry can use to better understand psychosocial factors and the impact they have on the wellbeing and mental health of Australians.
The joint initiative by the FSC and mental health stakeholders, based on research undertaken by KPMG, reinforces what many sufferers are experiencing: there are compounding impacts to mental ill-health and it is a holistic approach that drives successful recovery.
The research is being examined by the FSC Mental Health Working Group to determine how best to use the evidence collectively and as individual organisations.
Download a copy here.
Retirement Income Review
The Government announced a review of the retirement income system in September. The FSC is advocating strongly that the Government should retain its policy of increasing the Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent. The FSC would like to see superannuation laws simplified and red tape in the sector removed including barriers to rationalising legacy products.
Changes to Superannuation for under 25s
In mid-September the Putting Members Interests First legislation, which is due to come into effect on 1 April passed through Parliament. Amendments to provide additional time for impacted super fund members to opt into insurance were a sensible, consumer-focused change to the legislation. The FSC has committed to working closely with Government, Treasury and the regulators to ensure the implementation is as simple as possible for consumers. See more here.