Three pillars to bolster the cross-border life industry
AILO Chief Executive, Bob Pain, was recently interviewed by Kirsten Hastings, Editor of International Adviser. Read below to find out what he had to say about AILO's new strategy and focus.
When the Association of International Life Offices (AILO) was set up 33 years ago, the cross-border sector was young, innovative and pretty much concentrated in the UK crown dependencies.
Fast-forward a third of a century and the industry is almost unrecognisable following its expansion into new territories and significant consolidation.
But if someone was asked to describe the life industry today, innovative' probably won't be the first word to spring to mind.
According to AILO chief executive Bob Pain, that is just one of the issues the sector is facing.
To stay ahead of the game and help get the industry in the best possible shape for the next 33 years, the trade body is looking to expand its membership and provide three key pillars of support.
'AILO was set up to represent the interests of cross-border businesses. It was mainly Isle of Man companies but also included Jersey and Guernsey firms as well. I think there were 12 in total,' Pain told International Adviser.
'We now have 29 full members which have branches or a subsidiary in Ireland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Bermuda, Cayman, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Singapore, Labuan (Malaysia), the UAE and Puerto Rico.'
The changes in the sector, however, have pushed AILO to look beyond its original core membership, something Pain terms 'breadth'.
'I say it as a positive thing, rather than a negative, because some people will say that we've lost our focus.
'But, compared with 30 years ago, it's a much wider industry, with more jurisdictions and companies associated with the sector, life companies rely on a quite a few other companies to make up their proposition.'
In addition to full membership, where firms have to be either open or closed life companies, AILO also offers associate and affiliate membership, as well as partnerships.
Associates include companies such as platforms, reinsurers, fund groups and consultancy firms; while affiliates, which do not pay fees, would be broker organisations and professional bodies.
Partnerships include companies involved in the sector but more on the periphery - IA's parent company Last Word is a partner of AILO.
Providing support and structure
'One of the things that we have done over the last year is really focused on three pillars,' Pain added. These are advocacy, analysis and education.
'One area where AILO has been very, very strong is having the ear of the regulator; particularly the European regulator (EIOPA).
'Whether IDD, PRIIPs or Solvency II, we have managed to represent the cross-border industry. It has taken a few years to build up the relationships, because it is not easy.'
AILO is also working towards becoming a 'repository of information for the industry', he added.
As part of its analysis pillar, 'we've brought back the global cross-border life statistics report, which is an invaluable insight into the industry'.
But the development that excites Pain most is AILO's education drive.
For him, it is about putting in solid foundation stones to ensure that fresh recruits are given the best possible start in, what is still, a niche industry.
Working with associate member Acuity, AILO is building computer-based training models that will be available to members.
'There will be six entry-level modules and we are hoping to have them ready for the end of the year, if not before.'
While he acknowledges that the concept sounds fairly basic, 'it's not something we've ever had before'.
You can access the original article on International Adviser's website www.international-adviser.com
11th July 2019
Bob Pain, AILO CEO