The life insurer has admitted it took no disciplinary action against the head of its direct sales division after he told senior management that he was looking to ‘circumvent’ FOFA and break the law.
On Tuesday the royal commission heard that the head of the ClearView’s direct business planned a sales junket to Queenstown under the guise of an “educational” conference, knowingly breaching FOFA regulations and intending to break the law, the royal commission has heard.
ClearView Wealth’s chief actuary and risk officer Gregory Martin returned to the witness box this morning, where he was questioned by counsel assisting Rowena Orr QC about the company offering a travel and accommodation package to Queenstown as an incentive for sales staff.
The commission learned of an email sent to the head of ClearView’s direct sales division to senior management outlining his plans for the trip. It stated:
We will work with respective departments to reduce tax exposure, FBT implications and circumvent regulatory barriers. Packaged as a training and educational trip in lieu of FOFA conflicted remuneration.
Ms Orr questioned Mr Martin about this internal email, which was brought to his attention in the final quarter of 2016.
“So the head of direct sales within ClearView knew that this was conflicted remuneration, a breach of the FOFA reforms, knew that it was a breach of the law and therefore elected to package it deceptively as a training and educational trip?” she asked. “What action did you take?”
Mr Martin replied that the trip did not go ahead, and that he discussed it with the managing director and CFO.
“There was no response from me. I don’t actually know that I read all the way to the bottom [of the email]. But I visited the MD and CFO and said ‘over my dead body’,” he said.
Ms Orr asked if there were any consequences for the head of sales, given his plans to circumvent the law and package the junket as an educational trip. Mr Martin said there were no consequences for the head of sales.
“None of you took any steps to sanction or discipline the head of sales over his intention to breach the law,” she said.
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