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10 commandments of consultants written on water

Here is my selection of the average broker consultant&#39s 10 most used questionable assurances when approaching IFA practices for business:

1: I&#39m here to help you build your business.

2: We have recently restructured our administration divisions to ensure the (atrocious) problems that you have experienced for the last 10 years are now a thing of the past.

3: I joined XYZ Life because I believe they have a first-class range of products.

4: XYZ Life is fully committed to the IFA sector as its principal source of quality business.

5: We have a range of easily accessible technical specialists to deal with any queries that you may have.

6: My sales support girl/lad is excellent.

7: We have an admin division dedicated to members of your particular network.

8: We are one of the few remaining life companies with a branch local to you (in reality, just an office for the broker consultants with a couple of quotation clerks).

9: We are very competitive on our attitude to underwriting difficult cases.

10: If you have any problems, just call me and I&#39ll do my best to get them resolved as quickly as possible (yeah, right).

This list is not exhaustive.

Now for another list. here are my 10 reasons why stakeholder products will never succeed:

1: Virtually no one outside the industry understands them.

2: The rules surrounding stakeholder pensions are at least as complicated as those surrounding any other form of personal pension ever were.

3: There is no money in them either for advisers or providers.

4: People buying principally on price will not pay a fee for advice (despite admitting they probably need it).

5: Stakeholder products carry an offputting whiff of Government meddling and of “we know best” arrogance.

6: Despite calls from just about every quarter imaginable, the Government remains obstinately opposed to annuity reform. How brilliant to tamper with and alter absolutely everything but the very thing that everybody wants changed.

In the meantime, the morass of options at retirement becomes increasingly complicated and uncertain. For advisers, the whole subject area has become just one big turn-off.

7: Media coverage of all things stakeholder continues to be resoundingly negative and the public are all too aware of this.

8: The concurrency rules allowing people to contribute to a PP alongside membership of an occupational pension scheme are just another FSAVC review waiting to happen. And for what? Sixpence ha&#39penny commission?

9: The widely perceived decimation of the financial services industry by successive hindsight reviews instigated as a result of pernicious regulatory policies and skewed political agendas.

10: This Government simply has no idea of what it is doing. The more reviews and reforms it commissions and the more time and paper and (other people&#39s) money it wastes, the worse everything gets and the more we have to pay in levies for it all.

A final thought – could it be that what this Government is doing to financial services is Labour&#39s revenge for what the Tories did to the mining industry ?

Julian Stevens

WDS Independent Financial Advisers,

Kingswood, Bristol


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