Local insurance and pension regulators have been criticised for failing to see if sales people have criminal records before registering them. The registration system puts the onus on the applicant to declare any criminal record. Clients of insurance brokers want a review of the registration process and the overturning of the self-regulatory status of the insurance and pension industries. Last month the Government issued a consultation paper on the prospect of bringing insurance agents and brokers under the direct regulation of the Insurance Authority. The Government said the system of self regulation was ineffective and did not protect policyholders. One insurance policy-holder said he became aware in 1999 that his broker had a criminal record relating to forgery charges laid in 1988. The policy-holder said he complained to industry's watchdog, the Insurance Authority, that he had been sold a policy by a salesman with a known criminal record. The authority replied in a letter that under the current self-regulatory system, it was the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers (CIB), not the Insurance Authority, which regulated insurance brokers. The CIB then wrote to the policy-holder saying that the broker had been contacted and had denied any criminal record. However, the policy-holder was able to produce court papers for the CIB proving the existence of a criminal record against the broker. He has still to receive a reply from the CIB. The broker was also a registered agent with the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA). The policy-holder said he complained to the pension's regulator, which also contacted the broker who again denied any criminal record. 'The regulators should check with the police to see if insurance and pension sales people have criminal records, rather than relying on the agents or brokers to self-declare their criminal pasts,' the policy-holder said. The Securities and Futures Commission runs checks to see if a broker or fund manager had a criminal past before granting a licence. Assistant Commissioner of Insurance Ross Lam said the authority had put the issue of checking agents and brokers for criminal records on the agenda in last month's consultation paper. A CIB official could not comment on individual cases but said that if a criminal record was 'spent' under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance, the convictions would not be disclosed to other parties. The MPFA said it worked with other regulators to determine the fitness of sales people.