CONCERNS BY INDUSTRY PLAYERS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Currently, there do not seem to be any rating platforms for insurance agents or financial advisers.
Industry players and associations that CNA approached said they are aware of Agenttrust.sg and expressed concerns about the validity of the reviews.
Mr Alfred Chia, chief executive of financial advisory firm SingCapital, noted that the new platform has “noble” intentions but the anonymity of users creates room for potential abuse.
“People can create fake identities to post negative comments,” he said.
The Association of Financial Advisers Singapore (AFAS) and the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore (IFPAS) sounded similar concerns about the reviews being anonymous and a lack of “proper” verification mechanisms.
“We can never predict the intent and rightful expressions of the reviews and any wrongful usage would be detrimental to a person’s reputation for as long as the information is online,” IFPAS said, while advising consumers to “exercise due diligence” when assessing content posted on new platforms.
That said, the associations noted that feedback is necessary to improve the standards of the financial advisory service sector. Initiatives are already in place, such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s balanced scorecard framework and professionalism guidelines issued by the Insurance Culture and Conduct Steering Committee.
The former, which was first introduced in 2016, already constitutes a rating system for financial advisers and their supervisors, said AFAS.
“Should the authority choose to publish these scores (or) results to the public in the future, we will comply accordingly,” it added in an emailed response.
Meanwhile, individual companies have formal and established processes in place to address consumer concerns, said the Life Insurance Association Singapore. Frameworks have also been set up for the public to seek redress or file complaints, such as the Financial Industry Disputes Centre.
Financial advisory firm Providend said it would not be monitoring the new review platform for now, given how it remains in its nascent stage with not many reviews.
“If there are any complaints or feedback with regard to our client advisers, it should come directly to the firm,” said founder-CEO Christopher Tan, adding that the firm will launch investigations upon receiving complaints or negative feedback.