Regulatory changes affecting expat financial and insurance choices

by Ray Clancy on July 8, 2015

Expats face being able to access fewer options for life insurance and wealth asset management in key locations such as Dubai and Singapore due to regulatory changes and shifting business focus.


Expats now have fewer financial planning and insurance options in places like Dubai and Singapore

One of the largest international operators is pulling out of both locations. Standard Life said that the closure of its insurance business in Singapore is due to an increasing focus on building business with Chinese and Indian partners in Hong Kong.

Customers in Singapore should have been contacted with a closure value offer relating to any investment plans that they have. This follows the closure of the firm’s office in the Dubai International Financial Centre in January although this was for different reasons, namely changes in the regulatory landscape.

In Dubai the Insurance Authority (IA) has hardened its stance on who can do business in the emirate. As a result, Holborn Assets, one of the largest insurance brokerages in the region, said it would no longer accept business from non-IA licensed firms including Standard Life International, Skandia International, RL360° and Hansard International.

The new rules place restrictions on how companies can invest their money and how much exposure they can have in a particular asset class. The rules also require them to have an independent investment committee and adopt a series of changes that strengthen corporate governance, compliance and risk management.

Firms in Hong Kong are also having to re-examine their assurance schemes are a result of a ban on indemnity commission. Standard Life, for example, has withdrawn a number of products. It has submitted new indemnity commission-free products to the Securities and Futures Commission and Office of the Commissioner for Insurance in Hong Kong for approval.

Standard Life said it is committed to building a leading savings and investments business across Asia and emerging m with its regional hub in Hong Kong. It has set up an Asia Advisory Board to provide guidance and advice on its strategy to grow across the region.

It is also seeking graduated to be based in Hong Kong with skills in business development, distribution, marketing, product proposition, IT, risk, HR and finance.


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