Finance Ministry proposes consulting service guidelines
The ruling would affect pension consultants, including commercial banks, and institutional pension managers, such as insurance companies, provident funds and other pension funds.
The Finance Ministry on Wednesday released a draft directive defining limits on agreements between pension consultants and institutional pension managers to ensure objective consulting services for consumers. The directive, prepared by Finance Ministry Capital Market Director Yadin Antebi, would fix the maximum payment in exchange for an agreement to sell a certain pension plan at 0.1% of the total value of the assets in the portfolio. The cap would not apply to beginning institutional pension managers in their initial period of activity. The ruling would affect pension consultants, including commercial banks, and institutional pension managers, such as insurance companies, provident funds and other pension funds. The Bachar reform, signed into law last summer, requires banks to sell their holdings in provident and mutual funds, and allows them, instead, to sell to their clients funds owned and managed by other companies. Banks would then charge the companies a distribution fee. Pension funds that have not been operated by banks until now would not be able to pay commission to a pension consultant, and all revenue would bea in accordance with limits on distribution fees. The draft directive would also include a provision enabling fund management companies sold off by banks to continue providing various services related to pension consulting not included in the fund's distribution agreement to members of its provident fund through the bank until the end of 2007. This would temporarily allow banks that have sold off their provident and mutual funds and have received licenses for pension consulting to provide most customers with consulting services until that date. Until that time, additional commission paid for each fund member would not exceed 0.25% of the value of the portfolio assets. Antebi included a mechanism to ensure that pension companies would not pay banks for clients receiving consulting after December 31, 2007, but only for those advised during the transition period. Insurance companies, pension funds, provident funds and the banks must now comment on the draft directives, the ministry said. Separately, Finance Minister and acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed into effect regulations on the training requirements for licensing pension consultants, insurance agents, and pension marketing agents, to incorporate changes necessitated by the Bachar reforms. The regulations change requirements for licensing insurance agents and apply the same requirements to insurance agent licenses as on pension consultants and pension sales agents. The rules also stipulate conditions in which they would be exempt from internships and examinations. Institutional employees who have sold pensions for more than three years would be eligible to receive licenses without having to pass tests or complete internships, while those working in the field for one year may request a temporary license valid for one year. Olmert also signed into effect fees and tariffs relating to pension consultants and sales agents, and insurance agents. "The regime of rules on exemptions was established in order to enable orderly continuity in the in the operations of institutions active in the field. The exemption rules take their professional experience into account and allow them to continue working in pension marketing," Olmert said.
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