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News : ASIC-Westpac Verdict Ends 'Predatory' Call-centre Sales

#contactcenterworld, @Westpac

Sydney, Australia, Oct 29, 2019 -- The corporate regulator's win against Westpac in the Federal Court over the definition of "general financial advice" could eradicate the common practice of phone-based sales in financial services, say experts.

A full bench of the court ruled that the recommendations made to 14 bank customers by Westpac's Super Activation Team to join bank-owned superannuation funds should be considered "personal financial advice", which the relevant subsidiaries were not licensed to provide.

UNSW's Marina Nehme says the ASIC v Westpac dispute could prompt a rethink of phone-based financial advice. Supplied

The verdict was a major victory for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, which had appealed a previous decision of the court and been hoping to use its dispute with Westpac as a test case to crack down on financial services firms offering unlicensed personal advice under the guise of "general advice".

UNSW Sydney law lecturer Marina Nehme, who completed her doctorate on ASIC enforcement strategy, said the decision is likely to prompt a rethink of phone-based financial product sales, which is widespread across vertically integrated wealth managers such as those owned by the banks.

"The decision may lead to a review of the financial services industry’s practices regarding the provision of advice, especially that provided over the phone," Dr Nehme told The Australian Financial Review.

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"It is especially targeting predatory practices. It has been common in the past for organisations to use behavioural interventions to nudge consumers toward a particular product. This is a very undesirable practice."

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Michael Vrisakis suggested the case means the business model of distributing products on the basis of general advice is now "on life support", but Dr Nehme said banks and financial services providers could continue to operate under a general advice allowance despite the legal precedent.

"I do not think it will have an impact on genuine general advice that is provided in a proper manner and as such it does not mean that this type of advice is unviable," she said.

The verdict should accurately be read not as a repudiation of the general advice model, but of the specific conduct of Westpac's Super Activation Team in advising customers it was in their interests to join Westpac-owned, BT-branded funds, Dr Nehme said.

"Any financial services organisation that has or is planning to implement a similar strategy as the one applied by Westpac would be impacted," she said.

Brett Walker, a compliance consultant to financial services firms and former investigator at ASIC's predecessor, the Australian Securities Commission, agreed that true general advice – where consumers are simply provided factual information about a product – can survive after this verdict. The problem arises where an element of personalisation is introduced, which can easily occur over the phone, he said.

"Too many features of Westpac's interactions were indicative of personal advice," Mr Walker said. "All the disclaimers in the world could not overcome that conclusion.

"There is a lesson here to anyone thinking general advice is a feasible tool to market anything that has a hint of personalised attention."

Learning from the past

Observers and analysts said the verdict's business impact was muted by the fact the big four banks are in varying stages of exiting from the wealth management business, meaning the cross-selling of superannuation and other managed funds is less of a revenue priority in the future.

However, Westpac is holding onto its BT superannuation and funds management business though it is offloading personal financial advice, and Commonwealth Bank has suspended its wealth division divestment, meaning it is keeping both its superannuation and financial advice assets for the time being.

Morningstar banking sector analyst Nathan Zaia expects the court's decision could affect Westpac's inflows, given the problematic super rollovers in dispute contributed millions to funds under management.

However, he said, any expectation that this kind of revenue would continue is misguided, given the broader move away from conflicted financial advice.

"After the royal commission I would be very surprised if Westpac was making business cases based on the sorts of practices continuing," Mr Zaia said.

Matthew Wilson of Evans & Partners agreed that revenue expectations should not be reliant on pre-Hayne lucrative but high-risk sales practices.

"Banks need to take more care with the future provision of advice," he said. "Not everything needs to be industrialised."

#contactcenterworld, @Westpac

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: https://www.afr.com


About Westpac Banking Corporation:
Company LogoWestpac, is a multinational Financial services company and became the largest bank in Australia (by market capitalisation) after it took over St George, and the second-largest bank in New Zealand.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Motivating Agents With No Money!

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2019

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2020 Buyers Guide Dialer Solutions

 
1.) 
Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.
PH: +1 888-946-6878

2.) 
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565

3.) 
Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

4.) 
ComSys S.A.

CList for Outbound Campaigns Management
CList by Comsys is an application that helps contact centers enhance the performance of their outbound campaigns. It accomplishes that by enabling the planning and execution of sophisticated communication strategies. Additionally, the AI-powered module of CList extends the possibilities of outbound campaigns delivering unprecedented results.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with t...
(read more)
PH: +302109241486

5.) 
contactSPACE

contactSPACE
Dialer software that makes customer contact pain free, so your team aren’t worried about complex technology and can focus on what they do best. Dramatically increase agent productivity using a variety of dialers, combined with AI, leveraging data-driven contact strategies to ensure the right agent is contacting your customers at the right time.

Take control, and ensure your team are on-message by designing the perfect agent interface with a drag-n-drop visual WYSWYG editor.

Rotate CLIDs, and auto-wrap certain calls to ensure maximum agent productivity and performance.
PH: +6188803111

6.) 
CTCOMM

Genesys PureConnect
Genesys PureEngage
Tegsoft

7.) 
Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire
Companies of all sizes rely on the cloud-based call center platform Dialfire and its powerful predictive dialer. Dialfire is ready to use within minutes and easily personalizable. From small ad-hoc to large multi-step campaigns, Dialfire offers high scalability. Adapt customer masks and automate workflows per mouse click. Integrated scripting and APIs ensure a smooth connection with external systems.
PH: +49 351 44529800

8.) 
Megacall

Megadialer
With Megadialer you will get a customized call center software. With the creation of personalized questions, surveys and sales script you will have the information you need from your customers quickly and efficiently. Improve the performance of your agents with a 100% online contact center, real-time analytics and predictive dialer to optimize the time between one call and another.

All rates include:
Instant Call Reports
On-Demand Recording
Call Supervisor
Call Layout after Completion
Your Own Caller ID
Call Monitor
Automatic Re-Calls
Automatic sending of Mails
Incoming Call Management
Real-time Activity Panels
Call Lists for Agents
Different Levels of Administration
PH: +34 952 667 511

9.) 
PhoneBurner

PhoneBurner
Reach more contacts, in less time with PhoneBurner. Powering thousands of client and millions of calls, our cloud-based software eliminate repetitive tasks so agents have up to 4x more live conversations. Unlike other dialers, PhoneBurner delivers 100% delay-free connections with no awkward pause. Conversations start off with promise, not hangups.

- Call 60-80 contacts per hour, per agent
- Instantly leave voicemails
- Send 1-touch emails
- Automate workflows and call logging
- Record and transfer calls
- Access reporting and analytics
- Intelligently distribute leads
- Dial from local Caller IDs
- Get free white-glove onboarding

Scales to any size team with no contracts, no setup fees, and no per minute charges. Start a free trial without a credit card.
PH: 877-588-2292

10.) 
PrimoDialler

Predictive Dialler
A predictive dialler is an outbound call system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Also known as Power or Auto dialers it will automatically help agents make more calls, generate higher rates of connections, increase conversions, manage voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.

We’ve made it easy to get started, we offer packages to best suit your needs and don't tie you into long term contracts. Don't take our word for it take out a no-commitment free trial!
PH: +441617102740
 
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