Sovereign, chief executive officer, Symon Brewis-Weston, has resigned less than three years into his tenure.
Formerly head of corporate financial services for Sovereign’s Australian parent, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Brewis-Weston joined NZ’s largest insurer in April 2013.
He will head up FlexiGroup Limited in Australia, according to a Sovereign statement.
“During his time at Sovereign, Symon made a significant contribution to the business, in particular turning around declining customer numbers to growth and increasing the focus on working with distribution partners, as well as addressing the complexity of legacy systems,” Sovereign chairperson, Gavin Walker, said in a statement.
Sovereign is currently in the process of recruiting a replacement CEO, the statement says.
Brewis-Weston’s resignation caps off a fractious few weeks in New Zealand’s life business with a break-away group of insurers exiting the Financial Services Council (FSC), after it sponsored a report critical of some industry practices.
Yesterday, Fidelity Life followed Asteron, AIA and Partners Life as exiles from the FSC, an industry body principally representing the interests of large financial services firms.
Previously, both AMP and Sovereign had given notice on their FSC memberships for reasons unrelated to the Melville Jessup Weaver (MJW) review of retail life insurance in NZ published this Monday.
The FSC-sponsored report called for a scaling back of upfront insurance commissions among seven core recommendations.
AIA, Asteron, Fidelity and Partners Life rely almost exclusively on third-party advisers to distribute products.
The FSC report was prepared in the lead-up to the review of the Financial Advisers Act (FAA), which has put proposals to limit or ban commissions on the table.
It is understood, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) draft discussion document will be published within days.
In a statement yesterday, Fidelity chief, Milton Jennings, said: “Our preference was to stay at the table in order to facilitate discussion that would ultimately benefit advisers and the greater industry. Regrettably however this has now become untenable.”
Jennings said Fidelity was canvassing support for a new “industry forum which will bring together like-minded insurance professionals to work together and ensure positive outcomes for the industry, and ultimately protect consumers with a reputable, unbiased, industry-wide advice model”.