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Aifa wants FSA to spell out its tree-walking rationale

The FSA says it is willing to consider alternatives to blocking commission payments to IFAs where providers take clients through decision trees, following lobbying by Aifa and IFAs.

Aifa has written to the FSA, demanding an explanation of its thinking behind banning commission on stakeholder where clients are taken through trees by life office staff.

In a letter seen by Money Marketing, Aifa director general Paul Smee says the FSA seems to be forming opinions on aspects of the stakeholder advisory regime without producing any formal guidelines or consulting.

Aifa is demanding that the regulator should explain why so-called “tree-walking” should fall foul of the indirect benefit rules, particularly given the FSA&#39s ongoing stance that going through a decision tree does not constitute giving advice.

Smee concludes by saying: “Can we please have urgent clarification of why the FSA has devised this approach…and can we please have the opportunity to set our case for a different approach. The present situation is not only unclear, it is also potentially damaging to the efficient distribution of stakeholder pensions.”

Scottish Life head of pensions strategy Steve Bee says: “This is an issue I want to take on and I hope the industry speaks with one voice. The FSA&#39s move eff-ectively makes the distribution of stakeholder pensions unlikely.”

FSA spokeswoman Jackie Blyth says: “We have received Aifa&#39s letter and are willing to listen to the alternatives.”

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