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Aifa ready for white-labelling talks

Aifa is bracing itself for a move towards white labelling with the imminent publication of an FSA-commissioned study on polarisation.

Aifa director general Paul Smee calls it the “least worst way forward” in a news flash which went out to members on June 22.

White labelling would allow tied salespeople of one company to offer a product from another company under its own brand.

In recent weeks, there has been growing expectation that the existing regime will change once consultants London Economics publishes the study into polarisation and its alternatives. It is due out at the end of June.

Aifa maintains it will be “fighting the corner for polarisation” which it has always supported but says it will look at the study carefully to see whether it can make any workable suggestions if white labelling is advocated.

Smee believes white labelling could be dangerous, depending on what is meant by the term, but says he is open to debate on the issue.

He says: “Polarisation ain&#39t broke – the consumer likes it. We are still uncertain of the need for change. We will read the study carefully and respond properly. We hope it will not send people down the multi-tie route because it is bad for investors. Even white labelling conceals things from investors.”

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