17 March 2016
For Immediate Release
17 March 2016, 2:30pm
Competition Law Infringement Decision on Financial Alliance
Financial Alliance, along with a few other financial advisory firms, has been issued a Final Infringement Decision (“FID”) by the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) over an incident in 2013 that the CCS has regarded as anti-competitive conduct.
Mr Vincent Ee, Managing Director of Financial Alliance, said, “While our stand is that a commission rebate as an inducement is inappropriate and acts against consumer interest, we also respect that CCS, as the authority on competition, has their perspective on this matter from another angle.”
Mr Ee added, “In short, Financial Alliance embraces fair competition. As for the FID, we are assessing the situation and our options. We will decide in due course the next steps to take.”
The company’s stand on commission rebate
Elaborating on the stand on commission rebate, Mr Ee said, “As previously stated, it is unfortunate that the CCS has found Financial Alliance to have acted in an anti-competitive manner while attempting to uphold the long standing practice among financial advisory practitioners of not offering commission rebates as an inducement.”
“I strongly believe that prominently dangling rebates has the effect of inducing consumers to shift their focus away from the suitability of the financial product, which is the most important factor, to a short term gain. They may then end up committing on a long term basis to a financial product that might not be suitable to their long term needs or goals.”
“The risks of rebates as an inducement are real. Consumers who exercise genuine discipline in their decision-making process by keeping their focus on product suitability may be less at risk. However, for consumers who may be distracted in their decision-making process by rebates, they may subsequently regret having committed their hard-earned funds to a “mis-purchased” product. This is what we want to avoid.”
Financial Alliance’s stand on commission rebates has been articulated in its media release on 28 May 2015.
The company’s stand on competition
It has never been the objective of Financial Alliance to suppress competition. Mr Ee has also stated his desire that more financial advisory firms are set up to reach out to the population, spur the industry’s professional development and give consumers more choices in ethical ways.
Mr Ee said, “CCS saw things differently, which led to their FID. Nevertheless, Financial Alliance remains focused on its primary mission to uphold the quality of its financial advice.”
Financial Alliance is keen to preserve and promote competition in Singapore. In this spirit, Financial Alliance has sought CCS’ opinion on the possibility of competition concerns on certain matters not related to the FID and will continue to do so if the need arises.
Financial Alliance has also proposed ideas to enhance CCS’ outreach endeavours in response to the public consultation CCS issued in September 2015.
About Financial Alliance Pte Ltd
Financial Alliance Pte Ltd (“FAPL”) is a leading independent financial advisory (“IFA”) firm licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore offering comprehensive and unbiased financial advice to consumers and organisations.
FAPL is known in the industry for its strong system and processes, professionalism, integrity, innovation and financial standing. FAPL is an award-winning IFA that has garnered these accolades: Professional Enterprise Award, Singapore Quality Class Star and the People Developer and Singapore SME 1000 company (2015).
Address: 2 Bukit Merah Central, #10-00, Singapore 159835
Telephone: +65 6222 1889
For further information, please visit www.fa.com.sg.