Namfisa urges greater localisation of insurance companies

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Windhoek

The Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) wants to see proposals on conditions for greater localisation of ownership and management of insurance companies. The authority also called for the registration of financial intermediaries and that they have certain qualifications, which would help improve the quality of service.

“Our agenda at the authority over the past few years was driven by the need for reform to ensure inclusivity and deepening of the financial sector for the financial prosperity of every Namibian. These reforms encompass ideals enshrined in the Namibia Development Plan and Vision 2030,” said Namfisa’s CEO Phillip Shiimi.

In a speech read on his behalf by the authority’s General Manager: Insurance, Grace Mohamed, during the official opening of the Financial Planning Conference, Shiimi noted that the rationale for these requirements is rooted in past practices where consumers did not receive the service and benefits they deserved.

“Intermediaries may also have noticed that in recent months the authority has issued a number of circulars and directives speaking to issues such as registration of intermediaries, remuneration of agents and brokers, payment of administration fees and the required level of education that such intermediaries must have,” remarked Shiimi.

The Financial Planning Conference, which ends in Windhoek today, takes place under the theme: `Holistic Financial Planning in Namibia`. The aim of the conference is to increase and enhance the quality and quantity of advice given to clients within the financial services industry.

“We have witnessed a proliferation of financial planners in recent years. It is my impression that this expansion is being fuelled by the increasing complexity of the financial services industry and the consequent demand by consumers for assistance in dealing with this complexity. Some may venture to say that the increase in the number of financial planners is partly also due to some financial planners looking at the financial industry as an opportunity to make a quick buck,” expressed a concerned Shiimi.

He noted, however, that the current state of affairs is an opportunity for financial planners and advisors to play a more meaningful and developmental role. He added that financial planning should be considered as a career path that requires education levels that are appropriate to the complex nature of the products and services sold.

Shiimi said that Namfisa is inundated with a high number of complaints from consumers. Complaints relate mainly to dissatisfaction with the financial products their acquire through advice from financial planners and advisors. “If there were appropriate and effective financial planning and advice, the understanding of the products and terms would not have resulted in the high number of complaints we receive on a daily basis,” noted Shiimi.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, Namfisa received 83 complaints, which increased to 93 in the first quarter of 2014. These numbers increased to 106 complaints during the second quarter (2014), 152 complaints during quarter three and 196 in quarter four. “It is not difficult to notice that the complaints have been increasing steadily quarter on quarter until the end of 2014. This could be attributed to the quality of financial advice that consumers receive or the wrong financial advice given to consumers,” said Shiimi.

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