The ABI is aiming to shake up the financial services industry with a new Quality Mark which no firm may yet have reached.
It says it has been forced to act to clean up the tainted image of the industry caused by the pension misselling scandal and overly complex products.
The Quality Mark will be awarded for having easy to understand products which offer a clear pricing structure backed up with a top notch sales service.
It will be administered by a nine-strong independent body called the Pensions, Protection and Investments Accreditation Board (PPIAB).
Firms will be able to make a bid for the new mark from next Spring. It will be available from mid-2001.
ABI director general Mary Francis says: “The FSA sets minimum standards required but we want to bring in ones firms can aspire to reach. It may well be that no one has yet reached these standards.
“We think the Government Cat-mark appeals to a narrow range of products not used by the vast majority of brands - the Quality Mark will be awarded to companies who reaches high levels of quality for their whole product range.”
Personal pensions, with-profits and endowment savings plans plus protection products will be targeted while investments and mortgages may be included later.
Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “I welcome it if higher standards are achieved but we have to work out how this will impact on IFAs to ensure it does not add another layer of admin work and bring unnecessary regulation.