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Aifa urges extreme care on advice

Aifa has issued an urgent statement alerting its members to take extreme care when advising Equitable Life clients of their options.

As part of its newsflash bulletin service, it has emailed members, warning: “We do not believe that anybody is currently in a position to give clear guidance in such a sensitive and complex situation.”

The newsflash was issued in response to requests for guidance from IFAs anxious to assist Equitable Life policyholders but wary of giving advice while the situation develops.

Elsewhere there has been a mixed response to what advice IFAs should give, with some industry commentators warning the danger is that IFAs will either be accused of sticking “bags over their heads” by refusing to give advice or be seen as cashing in on client confusion by offering recommendations.

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “We are advising IFAs to be very careful. We are looking for a source of information from Equitable to help members. Advice should be client-specific.”

Syndaxi Financial Planning principal Robert Reid says: “There is no right answer but people want options. IFAs can&#39t stick bags over their heads.”

One IFA who received the Aifa newsflash says: “IFAs are about the only people who are always expected to be right but no one has a crystal ball. We cannot give advice if we do not know the facts.”

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