DeVere Group founder and CEO Nigel Green set his sights on life companies and trustees as one of the three key challenges for the industry in his keynote speech at International Investment's Middle East Forum 2021 held virtually last Wednesday 17 November at Incisive Media's studio in London.
Green turned his attention to the life sector and one life company in particular, after citing two other challenges.
One was around regulations, which "although good and important for the industry, they can stop business".
Quite frankly, their rules are archaic, and their systems are archaic as well.”
The second challenge stemmed from the proliferation of DIY investors: "They don't need to be just trying to buy an ETF to track the marketplace, which is not going to give them the prime returns but most importantly, it's not going to give them tax efficiency or the whole holistic advice that every client in the UAE and in the Middle East needs."
Green then turned to the life companies and trustees his company deal with that "quite frankly their systems aren't up to date. And not only that some of them think they are financial advisers themselves".
"One life company, for example, won't allow me to choose the investments for my client. And yet I've been successful in the industry, and of course, have used my own money personally to invest.
"But that life company in particular, will say no, you can't do that. And quite frankly, their rules are archaic, and their systems are archaic as well."
Green continued: "We believe that advisers certainly need to be qualified, they need to be able to make sure they give the correct advice. We need compliance to make sure it's checked off and it's correct. But we don't need life companies and trustees trying to force in regulations that don't exist. In other words, they put in their own rules."
Against this backdrop, the industry needs to find the right solutions for many different client needs, he said with life companies "looking at their systems and making sure that they're helping us produce better products"
"Of course, there are some life companies that have those already. But there are some certainly that needs to update their standards. And if they don't, unfortunately, they will get left behind.
"As advisers, let's remember the good that we do. Let's work together to make sure that we're not only producing a fantastic financial services industry, but also an incredible future, not only for our clients and for ourselves, but indeed for future generations."