Almost a year after the corporate regulator imposed licence conditions on one of Suncorp Life’s licensees, the insurer has announced that it will cut ties with two of its advice businesses.
After media speculation yesterday Suncorp Life confirmed it will no longer manage its Guardian Advice and Suncorp Financial Planning licensees. It will begin a six-month transition out of the two self-employed, aligned adviser networks to "simplify its distribution model".
According to ASIC's adviser register, this move may affect more than 200 planners.
In December 2014, ASIC imposed conditions on the Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence of Guardian Advice following surveillance that uncovered deficiencies in the advice provided to retail clients.
According to an ASIC statement: “Suncorp Life and Superannuation Limited (Suncorp) has undertaken to ASIC to complete the client remediation program of work provided for in the additional licence conditions and to fund the compensation of Guardian Advice clients, if required.
“Suncorp has also committed that all relevant recommendations made by the expert appointed to Guardian Advice, under the additional licence conditions, will be implemented in the continuing Suncorp financial advice business.”
Acting Suncorp Life chief executive Jeremy Robson said the decision to discontinue the businesses was much-considered and supported Suncorp's direction.
"We have made the decision to simplify our distribution model in line with our strategic priorities and in the interests of advisers and customers. We're focused on working with our independent adviser and direct distribution businesses to support the evolving needs of customers," he said.
"Over the next six months we will be working closely with both the Guardian Advice and Suncorp Financial Planning advisers to explore options such as transitioning them to other licensees in the market if they choose."
Mr Robson added that the immediate priority was the smooth transition for self-employed, aligned advisers.
"Our immediate goal is to work closely with advisers to identify their options and make the transition as easy as possible," he said.
It is understood that Suncorp has teamed up with dealer groups to assist with the transition.