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Advisers&#39 anger at FSA and CAB talks on trees

The FSA has kicked off negotiations with the Citizens&#39 Advice Bureau on how it will help consumers make use of decision trees for stakeholder pensions.

The regulator is also proposing to issue a quarterly newsletter to life offices which may open the door on new decision trees being reissued and updated frequently.

The CAB negotiations have angered IFAs and life offices amid fears that unqualified advisers couldbe given the green light for taking investors through the decision tree process, leav-ing investors vulnerable to misbuying.

However, the CAB has attempted to alleviate indus-try fears by stating that it wants to steer clear of pro-viding advice.

Spokeswoman Moira Haynes says: “In no way are we trying to appropriate the role of IFAs. We are not licensed to and itis not our function. We are in preliminary discussions with the FSA on stakeholder and how the CAB can help in terms of guidance but we will only get involved on an appro-priate level.”

But Torquil Clark pensions development manager Tom McPhail says: “Whether guidance is given by product providers or the CAB, it does not matter how it is presented, it will be construed as adv-ice. If there is any misadventure in these circumstances, there is no regulatory structure to cope.”

Scottish Equitable pensions development manager Steve Cameron says: “Financial services are used to having strict monitoring and controls when it comes to dealing with investors. It is difficult to see how these will be integrated at unregulated organisations.”

Spokesman Andy Flemming says: “A quarterly newsletter to communicate any updates to life offices is one idea being looked at.

“It will not necessarily mean new decision trees being issued every quarter but it will allow for updates on tax changes and the state second pension.”


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