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From August this year, pension advisers and insurance agents will be obliged to put explanations for their recommendations in writing to clients under new disclosure requirements.
Yadin Antebi, the Finance Ministry's Supervisor of Capital Markets and Savings, this week published new regulations for pension advisers and insurance agents aimed at boosting transparency and ensuring a higher level of objectivity in the process of marketing financial advice. As of August this year, pension advisers and insurance agents will have to formulate a letter in writing containing the reasoning for their recommendations of a specific pension product or package to clients interested in joining a pension fund, provident fund, executive insurance (bituah minhalim) and other pension saving instruments or switching to a different pension saving plan.
Antebi said that potential pension or savings fund holders will be entitled to receive a table of comparison on the various products, which will be provided at the agent's or adviser's expense. Furthermore, agents or consultants will be required to provide details on the advantages and disadvantages of the product or products they are recommending. The information displayed must include management fees, yields, risk levels and other items of information that could have an effect on the size of the pension fund of the client upon reaching retirement age.
The new regulations require insurance agents to disclose to clients which products earn them the highest broker's fee and to provide a full list of all fund managers whose products are sold by the agent, ranked in accordance with the size of the commission earned or the number of their products marketed. The disclosure regulation is intended to enable clients to get an insight into the agent's reason for recommending one pension product rather than another.
In addition, the new circular also entails a mechanism for regulating the insurers and funds themselves in terms of the way they market pension products to clients. Institutions will be required to conduct sample inspections for quality control of their agents' marketing process to recruit new clients in order to make sure that they are indeed receiving the information about the products in writing as specified before they take any final decision to join.
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