Traffic lights argue over life insurance commissions – economy

The SPD, the Greens and the FDP still have a considerable need for agreement in the coalition talks on life insurance commissions and other contracts for private retirement. The Greens are in favor of removing long-term commissions – and these positions are supported in the SPD. The FDP does not want to shake up the previous system. The traffic light coalitionists are unanimous on the banking union.

The positions emerge from a working document resulting from negotiations on the financial market. It refers to the state of Wednesday. In the meantime, the three parties may have resolved some disputes. The document shows the cleavages that had and must be overcome here. However, coalition formation is highly unlikely to fail because of these issues.

One possible option that has been discussed by traffic light negotiators is what is known as the commission cap, which is a limit on the maximum commission payments allowed in life insurance. Such a settlement was in fact planned by the Union and the SPD for the last legislature and presented as a bill by the Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD), but it failed due to resistance from parts of the CDU / CSU.

“We want to take measures to reduce the acquisition costs in life insurance – in particular by capping commissions,” he said in the working document. But the FDP does not want to support this. Instead, he proposes a reform: pension products should be reformed taking into account the interest rate environment in order to keep them attractive and profitable. “We consider that the legal interventions in the remuneration structure, in particular a commission cap, are wrong.”

The SPD and the Greens see things differently. The Greens are going particularly far, they want to completely abolish forward commissions. “We will gradually completely replace commission-based advice to small investors with independent fee-based advice, and we are also pushing for the end of commission-based advice in EU financial markets law.”

The Netherlands, the Nordic countries and the UK already have such a ban. But it would be a revolution for the German financial market: large sales organizations such as DVAG, MLP or Fondsfinanz live off the high commissions that customers always pay. In the case of life insurance, this often represents five or six percent of the total contributions payable by the client. This can represent several thousand euros for a single contract. As a result, clients’ returns and therefore their private pension provision are negatively affected. Each year German life insurers pay around seven billion euros in acquisition costs for brokers, in 2020 it was 7.5 billion euros – and that’s the amount they charge their clients .

In the case of paid advice, on the other hand, the client remunerates the advisor, in the same way as he remunerates a tax advisor or a lawyer. However, fee advice plays little role given the competition from allegedly “free” commission sales. Greens want to take countermeasures: “In order to create a level playing field, we will remove barriers to independent pricing advice by establishing a tariff structure and introducing mandatory net tariffs for all products. »The insurer cannot include any commission on the net rate.

On the other hand, there is broad agreement on the issues of the banking union and the capital markets union. The three parties aim to “complete the banking union in order to strengthen the European economy and the global competitiveness of German and European institutions”. And on the controversial issue of liability within the banking union, it is said that European reinsurance should be created for national deposit guarantee schemes. If a system in an EU country were overwhelmed by a wave of bankruptcies, then this reinsurance would take effect.

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