Prudential chief executive Mark Wood has challenged IFAs to stop regarding with-profits as a generic product.
Wood said that advisers had a crucial role to play in distinguishing with-profits products on grounds of free asset ratios, the total return of the fund, the asset mix operated and the effectiveness with which asset allocation is taken to the protection of the policyholder.
He said: “The adviser has a crucial role in selecting the strong player from the weak player. The debate about with profits has viewed with profits as a single homogeneous consistent category of product. If that were the case the adviser would have no role to play. The adviser clearly has a crucial role to play.”
While making a robust defence of the Pru bond and its performance and smoothing in bear markets, Wood pointed out that most of the criticism of with-profits has been levelled at the products in general.
Wood also said that all Prudential's consumer research pointed to with-profits as a product that met consumer needs.
He said: “This concept of safety and a good not necessarily the best return is paramount among people when they are seeking advice on the product. If we get the customer to describe what they want from a product what they do is describe smoothing.”