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Swedish roundup: Swedbank, SPP, Finansinspektionen, insurance commissions

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  • Swedish roundup: Swedbank, SPP, Finansinspektionen, insurance commissions

SWEDEN - Jan Ridderwall, head of the life and pensions operations at Swedbank, is joining rival SPP as sales director. Ridderwall replaces Magnus Karlsson and joins SPP on 1 April.

Ridderwall said he did not actively seek to leave Swedbank, but the offer from SPP made him take the step.

He noted that the push SPP is making into the pensions area is an exciting offer and their well-respected brand and competence are visible in their positive development.

SPP's multi-distributions strategy is also something Ridderwall believes is key for further development, and the strength of the owner, Storebrand, is also vital, he said.

In other news, the majority of the companies supervised by Finansinspektionen, the Swedish regulator, have confidence in the way it conducts its business and say communications with the regulator are also working well, according to a survey commissioned by the regulator.

Some 91% of insurance companies have great or fairly great confidence in the regulator, whereas 7% have fairly little or little confidence in the supervisor.

A whopping 93% say their contact with the regulator works well, while only 2% say it is poor or very poor.

The criticism toward the regulator concerns advice, clarity and speed in dealing with issues such as reacting to weaknesses and deficiencies among players or industries.

Elsewhere, the regulator wants the commissions paid by insurance companies to insurance brokers to be prohibited.

In a response to the EU Commission's consultation paper on the insurance intermediaries directive, the Swedish regulator said the system of commissions had led to problems and that the brokers lack incentives to find the best possible products for customers.

Finansinspektionen pointed to possible conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in a system where the brokers' income was based on commissions from the insurance companies.

The regulator said it was not enough that customers be informed the system is based on commissions, as it can be difficult to interpret the information when you are sold the products. Nor does this change the incentive to sell the most profitable product, it added.

Finansinspektionen wants to change the system based on fees from customers. The regulator believes this will address the actual problem rather than introducing information requirements that would address the consequences of the commission-based system.

However, the regulator is not optimistic about being able to replace the current system, it said.

The Swedish insurance brokers' association argues that the regulator's proposal would not improve consumer protection, but only lead to market repercussions.

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