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Advocate wants to give advice

Aviva policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode says policyholder advocates should get exemption from the Treasury to give financial advice.

The Treasury is holding a 12-week consultation on whether advocates should be exempt from FSA authorisation as they offer broad advice to policyholders on investments.

The position of policyholder advocate was brought in by the FSA to help deal with reattribution of a life office’s orphan assets.

The role is to negotiate, arrange and advise on any deal which could result in payouts to policyholders and these activities are defined by the FSA as giving advice.

The consultation paper asks whether exempting the advocate from FSA authorisation is enough to protect the interests of consumers and the advocate.

It asks whether there may be unintended consequences as a result of this exemption.

Spottiswoode says: “It is essential that policyholder advocates have the Treasury exemption to give financial advice, otherwise policyholders will not receive the service they need and deserve.

“Policyholder advocates will give broad advice. It will still be important for policyholders to consult independent financial advisers to work out what works best for each individual.”

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