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'MAS can help spot independent and restricted confusion'

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The Money Advice Service says it will be difficult for consumers to understand the difference between independent and restricted advice under the RDR.

Last month, the Chartered Insurance Institute called on the FSA and the MAS to do more to explain the different types of advice available to consumers after the RDR.

Speaking at a Personal Finance Society RDR seminar in London last week, MAS policy lead Francis McGee questioned whether the MAS was best placed to communicate the messages of the RDR.

McGee said: “The scope of the RDR is fairly convoluted and that poses challenges. Think of the treatment of protection business, the treatment of workplace pensions and of legacy business. Then there is the independent versus rest-ricted distinction. This is going to be tough to get across.”

But McGee said inevitably the MAS will be doing a lot of work on the RDR and could help alert the regulator when confusion arises about how advice is changing.

He added: “We might have a role in spotting when RDR messages are not being understood. We must not confuse our job with the regulator’s job, it has to supervise and enforce its own rules. But it could be part of our job to send up a flare if our customers start to tell us they are confused or reflect on why different parts of the process do not appear to be working.”

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