A former life insurance executive has cast doubt over the Financial Services Council’s investigation into potential member misconduct in the wake of the royal commission.
An FSC spokesperson recently revealed that an internal investigation into whether any royal commission member testimony indicated breach of FSC codes of conduct is currently “in train”.
However, speaking to InvestorDaily, former TAL manager turned mental health advocate Patrick O’Connor said he is sceptical about the effectiveness of the FSC disciplinary process.
“No financial penalty exists for any FSC member for [b]reaching the code and no financial compensation is payable to consumers who have been proven to be unfairly treated,” said Mr O’Connor, who claims to have knowledge of FSC procedures as a former senior employee of a member firm.
Mr O’Connor – who describes himself as a sufferer of a “severe mental health condition” – blew the lid on the insurance industry’s unsatisfactory approach to mental ill-health claims in an ABC TV report earlier this year.
Following a longstanding dispute with TAL over an insurance claim, Mr O’Connor took a break from the financial services industry and now works with advocacy organisations Livin and Beyondblue.
The former industry executive also said that regardless of the investigation, the FSC should shoulder some responsibility for royal commission misconduct.
“In the same way a failed drug test of its players affects a sporting team, the admissions of recent weeks affect the credibility of the FSC,” he said.
He said the influence of AMP group executive (advice and New Zealand) Jack Regan and Commonwealth Private executive general manager Marianne Perkovic – both of whom appeared as witnesses before the royal commission and are directors of the FSC – should come under particular scrutiny.
“They don’t just represent their employers,” he said. “They represent the industry body.”
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