What MetLife Retail is doing to support advisers

Like everyone else, advisers have had to change the way they do business during COVID-19 and we’ve doubled down on supporting them during this time. We quickly addressed questions advisers had about the pandemic, such as confirming there wouldn’t be any exclusions caused by the virus.

We also wanted to support our customers who inform us that they are suffering financial hardship by extending a three-month premium waiver option to MetLife customers of retail products with a financial adviser. Clients who continue to face hardship beyond this period can engage with us to explore options for further relief.

MetLife Australia understands many advisers are using this time to focus on their educational requirements. We've been running regular webinars to help them focus on key issues, such as preparing for their FASEA exams, and other sessions to help them meet their CPD requirements. We’ve also created support materials for clients and advisers on topics such as keeping healthy while working from home and managing remote teams.

It’s been great to hear advisers reach out and say these efforts have helped their business and with their mental health during the COVID crisis.

How MetLife is helping the industry

We believe the financial advice industry will continue to help support Australians achieve their goals. For various reasons, however, the industry has been under pressure recently and we’re seeing a gradual decline in the overall number of advisers. What concerns us most is the reduced number of those wanting a career as a financial adviser.

We know the importance of good financial advice. We can see first-hand how people’s lives can be transformed by having appropriate coverage if the worst happens. The advice industry is pivotal to ensure people protect themselves in this way.

We’re working at multiple levels to support the industry. For example, we’re advocating for financial advice to be completely tax deductible, and we’re working with politicians to help them understand the benefits of this. We believe this will improve access to financial advice.

We’re also working with licensees to build training programs and help advisers meet the new education requirements.

How MetLife is using technology to achieve its goals

MetLife has spent the past year developing a user-friendly platform driven by direct feedback from our advisers and licensees. They have been telling us what we needed to do, and how we needed to do it.

We believe this new platform will transform the way advisers engage with MetLife. Greater automation will help us serve advisers better and make us nimbler and more responsive to feedback. As the launch date approaches, we feel really excited about the future.

My vision for MetLife Retail

There is a changing environment because of changing customer demands, technological advances and regulation. We’re at the early stages of our journey as a retail player, and we’re fortunate to be starting with a relatively clean slate because it means we can adapt quickly.

My vision for retail is to create sustainable products that suit our customers. We don’t want to be part of a race to provide more features for cheaper prices. We want to develop products that promote a long-term, sustainable future for our business. We’re doing this in product design by creating a base product that allows advisers, through the advice process, to add extra benefits that suit their clients’ needs.

As a global organisation with more than 150 years of insurance experience, MetLife is a recognised and trusted brand. Over time, I want to build even more trust with Australian advisers. I want them to know they can come to us for advice on how to build their businesses, and for insights on where the industry is going. We’re in this for the long run, and we want to work with the industry to benefit all.