Issue No. 9 January - March 2012
Message from the PresidentIndustry Events
Industry NewsQ&A with Dr. Khoo Kah Siang
Q&A with Ken Ng

Message from the President

LIA 50th Anniversary Dinner - Cake Cutting

Development of the life insurance industry in Singapore
1962 to 2012 and beyond

The life insurance industry in Singapore has undergone transformation over the past five decades. The industry has grown in breadth and in depth to become one of the most developed in the region. We have benefited from the strong economic growth as well as the social and political stability in Singapore, operating within the strong regulatory framework that we have in place. This has helped foster strengths and resilience to weather crises the industry has experienced over the last few decades.

We moved from a single distribution channel to multiple channels, which now comprise agencies, banks and financial advisory firms. Together with the industry's advancement, we have seen how consumer needs have evolved tremendously. 

Hence, the industry has to continue to create a comprehensive range of innovative product solutions to meet the sophisticated needs of consumers and the different market segments.

The LIA has been active in both spearheading and supporting the development and growth of the industry, such as:

  • Contribution to the formulation of the MAS 306 Notice that enhanced the industry's sales practices and agency management in the late 1980s;
  • Issuance of LIA guidelines on benefit illustrations, product summary and consumer guide in 1990s;
  • Formation of the Committee for Efficient Distribution of Life Insurance (CEDLI) in 2000 that helped to broaden and enhance industry practices;
  • Undertaking of a multi-pronged approach for consumer education through talks, seminars and media platforms;
  • Organising of conferences and seminars to promote dialogue and skills upgrading amongst industry professionals.

However, more complex challenges lie ahead as consumers get more financially savvy and the industry operates in a more volatile environment. We need to re-double our efforts to narrow the protection gap and continuously improve on our productivity and competitiveness.

Above all, our members need to constantly focus on delivering great value and better service to our customers.

Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR)
To further build the customer's trust and confidence in life insurance and financial advisory services, the MAS has announced the steps it intends to take as part of a comprehensive review of the financial advisory industry that the regulator is launching. This new effort is named FAIR, the Financial Advisory Industry Review.

MAS shared that FAIR has two main objectives:

  • first, to enhance the professional standing and competence of financial advisers; and
  • second, to create a more competitive and efficient system for the distribution of life insurance and investment products

We welcome the opportunity to constructively contribute to consultations aimed at:

  • Raising the competence of financial advisory representatives
  • Raising the quality of financial advisory firms
  • Making financial advice a dedicated service
  • Lowering distribution costs of insurance products
  • Promoting a culture of fair dealing

President Signature

Tan Hak Leh

Industry Events

Singapore Actuarial Society - Life Insurance Association
Retirement Conference 2012
12 to 13 April 2012
Hilton Singapore

Improving Retirement Security in Singapore


Register now at Retirement Conference 2012

Unyielding inflation, reticent financial markets, and pro-longed longevity are but a sampling of challenges facing Singaporeans as they prepare for a retirement tenuously guarded by individual savings. How can they make sure they hold the keys for unlocking these elusive golden years?

Retirement Conference Brochure 

50 Golden Years 1962 - 2012
LIA 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner
26 March 2012, Raffles City Convention Centre

Registration - Photo1 Registration - Photo2
Cocktail Session
Guests - Photo1 Guests - Photo2
Guests - Photo3 Guests - Photo4
Message Board
Signing - Photo1 Signing - Photo2
LIA Gala Dinner

This year, the Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA) commemorates its 50th year since its establishment as the representative of the industry in 1962. With a clear vision to promote a society where every person is prepared for life's changing cycles, the LIA has played an important role in enhancing the industry's development throughout the years. The Association has 19 international and home-grown member companies which together produce annual revenues in excess of $2 billion (not including life reinsurance business).

Emcee LIA Re-elected President
Guests - Photo5 Guests - Photo6
Guests - Photo7 Guests - Photo8
Cake Cutting by GOH and LIA Presidents
Starting from the left: Darren Thomson, Tan Kin Lian, Kevin Holmgren, Christopher Gill,
Ravi Menon, Tan Hak Leh, Raymond Kwok, Allen Pathmarajah, Law Song Keng,
N Ganesan, Tan Beng Lee, Andrew Tan

The LIA's 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and attended by about 300 guests, including many past presidents of the LIA, senior members of the financial community as well as other industry representatives.

Arrival of GOH - Photo1 Arrival of GOH - Photo2
Arrival of GOH - Photo3 GOH seated
GOH giving speech
VIP Tables - Photo1 VIP Tables - Photo2

Announcing FAIR

In his keynote address, Mr Menon announced the steps MAS intends to take, as part of a comprehensive review of the financial advisory industry that it is launching. MAS calls this new effort, "FAIR", or the Financial Advisory Industry Review.

Said Mr Menon, "We must build the customer's trust and confidence in life insurance and financial advisory services. MAS has been working closely with the industry to help bring this about. The key thrusts of our approach are as follows:

  • Raise the competence of financial advisory representatives
  • Raise the quality of financial advisory firms
  • Make financial advice a dedicated service
  • Lower distribution costs of insurance products
  • Promote a culture of fair dealing

FAIR will essentially build on the foundations laid by CEDLI and the Financial Advisers Act ten years ago. It has two main objectives:

  • first, to enhance the professional standing and competence of financial advisers; and
  • second, to create a more competitive and efficient system for the distribution of life insurance and investment products

The overriding aim of FAIR is to protect and benefit the consumer. Putting the customer first - that must be at the heart of all our efforts."

For the full text of Mr Menon's keynote address, please go to MAS website.

Industry's Got Talent!

Talent Show - Photo1 Talent Show - Photo2
 All Contestants

Highlight of the evening's entertainment was eight contestants from six member companies who showcased their singing or dancing talent to vie for the top three prizes.
Guests cast their votes and we congratulate the winners.

1st Prize Winner

1st prize: Jeremy Cheng who sang a Hokkien song "One Million Dollars"

2nd Prize Winner

2nd prize: Jeremaine Yeo who sang a medley of 3 songs

3rd Prize Winner

3rd prize: Mohammad Razali who sang "You Raise Me Up"




3 participation prizes:

- Carol Lim, Chua Mei Mei and Liu Hui Ling who performed a k-pop dance based on the song "The Boys" by The Girls Generation
- Robert Tan who sang "How can I tell her"

- Tristan Koh who danced and sang "Use Somebody"

Manulife sponsors 2nd Singapore ATP Challenger
25 February to 4 March 2012

The Manulife Singapore ATP Challenger 2012 was held from 25 February to 4 March at the Singapore Island Country Club, featuring 32 singles and 16 doubles teams competing for ATP ranking points and prize money totalling US$50,000.
The tournament saw 27 Asians out of a total of 46 players competing, including three Singaporeans playing in the doubles.

Manulife ATP Challenger - Winner
Ms Annette King presenting the trophy to Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, singles winner of the Manulife Singapore
ATP Challenger title. Ranked 62nd in the world, Lu also received US$7,200 and ranking points.

Ms Annette King, President & CEO said: "Manulife has always been a big supporter of sports, both locally and internationally. We recognise that tennis has witnessed an exponential growth in the last year and we are keen to be part of this development in the community. Manulife is here to help people fulfil their dreams, be they an athlete we are supporting in this Singapore ATP Challenger, or our customers, by giving them the financial security and peace of mind to do what they most want to do." 

Industry News

Election of LIA office-bearers for 2012/13
On 26 March 2012, members of the Association re-elected Mr Tan Hak Leh to a third term of the Presidency. Mr Tan first stepped into the President's role in 2010. He is the Chief Executive Officer of AIA Singapore Private Limited.

The two newly-elected Deputy Presidents are Mr Kevin Holmgren, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Private) Limited, and Mr Christopher Gill, General Manager South-East Asia and Principal Officer of Friends Provident International Limited (Singapore Branch).

LIA President - Tan Hak Leh Mr Tan has more than 20 years of experience in the life insurance industry, spanning both the private and public sectors. Before being appointed to his current position at AIA Singapore, Mr Tan spent six years with Great Eastern Life responsible for its insurance business in Singapore.  Prior to that, he was a director of the Insurance Department at MAS, an appointed actuary of a major life insurance company in Singapore and a consultant with an actuarial consulting firm.
LIA Deputy President - Kevin Holmgren Kevin Holmgren assumed his current position last year. Mr Holmgren joined Prudential Asia in 2000 where he held roles as the Director of Agency Development and Co-Chief Operating Officer, Insurance. Prior to his appointment in Singapore, he was based in Indonesia as the CEO of PT Prudential Life Assurance for seven years. He was the Vice President of Financial Planning and Personal Lines in AIA Malaysia, and held several management positions with Allstate Insurance in the United States.
LIA Deputy President - Christopher Gill Christopher Gill took up his current role in 2006 when he was tasked to set up the operations of Friends Provident International Limited in Singapore. Before that, Mr Gill was based in Hong Kong as the Regional Sales Manager for Friends Provident where he was responsible for developing new business relationships with intermediaries, brokers, private banks and other distributors particularly in Hong Kong and Japan. Previously, he held roles in private client advisory positions in the United Kingdom.

Fatwa on Revocable Insurance Nomination issued on 21 March 2012
Since the introduction of the insurance nomination law from 1 September 2009 under the Insurance Act, consumers may refer to the industry guide, Your Guide to the Nomination of Insurance Nominees, which states that: "Muslim policy owners may make both trust and revocable nominations over their life policies or accident and health insurance policies with death benefits. However, they should be aware that revocable nominations are subject to syariah (Muslim law) and can seek guidance from MUIS on how the different types of nominations interact with the principles of Muslim law".
The new Fatwa is welcomed by life insurers as it sets out the clear guidance for Muslims.
For the full text of the Fatwa, please go to MUIS website.

Q&A with Dr. Khoo Kah Siang

Leading the local operations at Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited is Dr. Khoo Kah Siang.  As the General Manager (Singapore) at Great Eastern, Dr. Khoo not only takes charge of day-to-day business operations but he is also responsible for growing the business in Singapore, and he does that by keeping a watchful eye on the ever-changing life insurance industry to ensure that Great Eastern continues to meet the evolving needs of customers.

Dr. Khoo graduated from the University of Kent in United Kingdom (UK) with a BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Science and a PhD in Statistics, and is a fellow of the prestigious Institute of Actuaries in the UK.  He landed in his first job in Singapore at the consulting firm, NMG Group soon after returning from his studies in the UK.  Thereafter, he joined the actuarial department at Manulife (formerly known as OUB Manulife Singapore) and he held the role of the Deputy Director of the Insurance Department at the Monetary Authority of Singapore as well.

Since joining Great Eastern in 2006, Dr. Khoo has held several regional and local positions. He started off at the Group Corporate Finance department and soon after, he became the head of Group Actuarial.  In 2010, he was appointed the Chief Financial Officer of the local business, and was promoted to role of the General Manager (Singapore) in May 2011.

Prior to his stint at Great Eastern, Dr. Khoo had worked at both the private and public sectors and he finds that his work experiences at both sectors have enabled him to view issues in a broader perspective and make better decisions as well.

Dr. Khoo has been described by his peers as a capable and supportive leader whom they can approach and communicate openly.  A firm believer in the importance and value of teamwork, he ensures that everyone in his team plays their part because he knows that overall result would be much more significant as compared to the individual efforts.  As a leader, Dr. Khoo told Lifewire that he wants to nurture and mentor the talents around him by giving them the opportunity to take on various roles and challenges within the organisation.

While no man is perfect, Dr. Khoo has his own weaknesses to overcome.  He explained that whilst being a qualified actuary with a doctorate in Statistics has enabled him to be more analytical in his strategic thinking; he admitted that he can get over analytical and 'dry' at times.  Hence, he is trying his best to understand the other divisions of the business, for instance marketing and branding.

Dr. Khoo Kah Siang - Photo

Dr. Khoo is a loving husband and father to his wife, Agnes and their adorable eight-year-old son, Ethan.  In between work, he enjoys spending time with his family and takes them overseas for holidays when possible.  In his leisure pursuit, Dr. Khoo enjoys watching sports programmes and taking part in occasional business and social golf games.  In addition, he makes an effort to jog at the gym or park at least twice a week to stay healthy and keep his waist line in check.

Dr. Khoo shared his resolutions for 2012 with Lifewire - that is to build deeper relationships with his staff, business partners and of course, his wonderful family.

Here, Lifewire shares a few personal facts about Dr. Khoo.

Q: How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

I am not a serious drinker but a glass of beer at the end of the day helps!

Q: What are some of your career highlights?

I enjoyed and cherished all my past jobs and made great friends along the way. I have to say that I am really blessed.

Q: Tell us about a little-known fact about yourself.

Interestingly, despite being a Malaysian, I have never worked in Malaysia. When I returned from the UK after graduating, I had applied for a job in Malaysia but I ended up with my first job in Singapore and have been working in Singapore since.

Q: A couple of my proudest moments were....

  1. The experience I had when I witnessed the birth of my son in the delivery room.
  2. When I received the prestigious 'Life Insurer of the Year' award from Asia Insurance Review on behalf of Great Eastern Life Singapore and my colleagues who have worked hard and contributed in one way or another.

Q: Complete the sentence:  I love life because....

I believe we are all created for a purpose on earth and I am blessed to be in a position where I can be a positive influence on the lives of others in some way.

Q&A with Ken Ng

Ken Ng - Photo1

Holding the fort for the sales force at NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited (NTUC Income) is Ken Ng, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Life Insurance at NTUC Income.  Being part of a new management team to help transform the company's business is one of Ken's roles, but on a day-to-day basis, he manages the life business of the company, which includes overseeing the large sales team at NTUC Income.

On his first general management position, Ken said: "I am enjoying it.  It's very different from my previous roles and it is challenging in many interesting ways.  I love the fact that I'm using more soft skills than hard skills now."

Ken graduated from the London School of Economics with a BSc in Actuarial Science and is a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in the United Kingdom (UK).  He went on to further his studies at the prestigious Imperial College London and graduated with a Master's Degree, majoring in Business Administration.

Ken began his career in the UK upon graduation but faced great challenges in landing himself his first job as the UK was in the midst of a recession back then.  But his persistence paid off (together with some luck), he managed to secure his first job despite the odds and stayed on for five years. He told Lifewire that this was one of the proudest moments in his life, he said: "It was really tough back then.  I wrote to almost every potential employer but most were not hiring or were not prepared to recruit foreigners.  But I told myself that I can't give up so easily - I wanted the experience of working there."

Apart from the UK, Ken has had the opportunity to work in Hong Kong and China before joining NTUC Income in Singapore. The adventurous individual enjoys working in different countries to experience the various unique cultures of each country.  He enjoys taking on challenges which are beyond the defined scope of the job itself.  On the topic of his strengths, he told us that his versatility in being able to adapt quickly is one of them.  In addition, his strength in being persistent has helped him to overcome his weakness of public speaking as he continues to improve and practice on his skills.  He added: "So far, I believe it is going well. Judging from the laughs, I seem to be able to connect with the audience with my jokes!"

Prior to NTUC Income, Ken was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of AXA in China where he was part of the team to revive the declining business in China.  Before that, he was the Marketing Director at Prudential Assurance in Hong Kong.

Ken Ng - Photo2

Outside of work, Ken takes pleasure in leisure activities such as reading, cooking and watching movies.  He also enjoys travelling with his beloved wife, Duyen whom he is married to for eight years now.  Ken shares with us some personal facts about himself during our interview with him.

Q: What drives/motivates you?

Making a difference, doing a great job and helping others do a great job.

Q: How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

I enjoy going to the gym to work the stress out.
Q: What are your pet peeves?

Inconsiderate drivers irk me the most.

Q: Complete the sentence:  I love life because....

It is an adventure to experience and a gift to cherish.

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