- Higher fee incentives make agents push more ILPs
- Various reforms are likely to boost fund distribution through the insurance channel
- OJK has raised the cap on overseas Shariah investments from 15% to at least 51%
Although the investment-linked product (ILP) business is stagnating in Singapore and Hong Kong, other Asian markets such as Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and Thailand are offering better prospects, says Cerulli Associates.
Indonesia has the highest growth potential among the four countries stated. According to fund managers Cerulli spoke to, the growth momentum remains strong even though the first ILPs were launched more than a decade ago.
Banks and insurance agents are pushing ILPs more, as compared to mutual funds, because of higher fee incentives. Banks typically have exclusive arrangements with insurance firms to sell their products, but there are no such partnerships with asset managers to distribute mutual funds.
However, if the country's regulator, Financial Services Authority (OJK) decides to scrap upfront fees and exclusivity in bancassurance partnerships, growth prospects might be limited.
At the same time, OJK has raised the cap on overseas Shariah investments from 15% to at least 51% since November 2015. Cerulli notes that this may present an opportunity for fund managers to offer foreign-invested Shariah-compliant funds on ILP platforms, if regulators allow it.
Managers Cerulli surveyed for the Asset Management in Southeast Asia 2016 report ranked insurers as the channel they would increase their use of the most in the coming three years. Various reforms introduced in the past few years are likely to help boost fund distribution through this channel. Banks will also continue to push bancassurance sales, which significantly involve unit-linked products.