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Advice is being squeezed out

Advice is key to the future of financial services but is in danger of being squeezed out of the market, according to Swiss Re&#39s Insurance Report of 2001.

Consumers want advice on personal pensions, income protection, PMI, criticalillness cover and life insurance but the report, which surveys more than 1,000 people, says access to advice is disappearing.

Although independent fin-ancial advisers are accused of having a commission bias, the report found that most consumers are still unwilling to pay fees.

Despite the public&#39s belief of IFA commission bias, the report found that depolarisation is taking place just when people are starting to understand the current market structure.

The report also produces damming evidence on consumer attitudes towards the industry and finds that the ABI&#39s Raising Standards initiative does not have credibility with the public.

Any form of self-regulation is not trusted by the public and the initiative was called a “guard dog with no teeth” by one respondent.

The report says only Government-set standards are likely to convince consumers that companies and products are safe. The market for financial services remains large, with huge numbers of consumers still without even basic insurance cover.

Thirty-two per cent of people surveyed have no life cover, 42 per cent have no pension provision and 66 per cent have no health cover.

Strategic development actuary Paul Hately, who is co-author of the report, says: “Most consumers are una-ware of what their needs are, unaware of the products that are available to meet those needs, confused by terminology and overwhel-med with the diversity and sheer amount of information available.”


Scot Life axes fees on regular pensions

Scottish Life has removed policy fees for all new regular-premium personal pension plans of £100 or more a month. The company says its flexible commission options, extensive internal and external fund range, Royal London&#39s with-profits performance and its latest initiative make a convincing case for IFAs to recommend its products. Scot Life says its personal […]

Product matters

It would not appear to be an ideal climate to launch a new fund but I suppose a fixed-interest fund would have more chance of success than anything else. The Five Arrows monthly income fund appears to have a number of attractive features, not least of which is regular income. High-income bond launches have been […]

Call to simplify pension regime

Stakeholder pensions will be misbought and lead to greater financial exclusion, forecasts the Swiss Re Insurance Report 2001. The report found that the pension system is still so complicated, with the minimum income guarantee and pension credits, that stakeholder will never be simple and consumers will not understand what they are buying. It says the […]

Relax polarisation to weed out multi-tied agents, says Pima chief

Polarisation must be relaxed to weed out IFAs who are really acting as multi-tied agents, says the new director general of the Pep & Isa Managers&#39 Association. In his first week as head of the trade body, Tony Vine-Lott has not shied away from controversy by slamming IFAs for the lack of transparency about their […]

Can you put a hat on?

By Sarah Scott, marketing consultant You might think the question in the title is a strange one. Perhaps even more so when you learn that it’s one of several asked as part of an assessment for Employment Support Allowance eligibility in the opening scenes of the 2016 film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Daniel is a carpenter […]


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