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AMPs accuses the Government of enforcing discrimination through back door on ASPs

The Committee of the Association of Member-Directed Pension Schemes says it is gravely concerned at the FSA’s new requirement for IFAs to carry out research into a client’s religious background when advising clients on ASPs.

The Association fears this is a back door attempt by the Government to enforce a policy which breaks the law and which the Treasury has tacitly admitted to AMPS is discriminatory on religious grounds.

Last month the FSA told Money Marketing that Government restrictions on ASPs are nothing to do with its rules. But it then admitted efforts made by the adviser to assess the religious background of clients could be included its its assessment of suitability of advice.

The FSA later denied making the statement.

AMPS chairman John Bradley says: “I call upon the FSA and the Treasury to meet with industry bodies to resolve the issue of ASP in a sensible and workable fashion. In my opinion the system of ASPs should be given reasonable time for experience to show whether any abuse can or is taking place. By its very nature, ASP is only available to the over 75’s and has only been in existence since 6 April, it is difficult to see how there can be ‘wide spread abuse’. In any case, now that the benefits are to be subject to IHT, there is a gain to the Exchequer from ASP versus annuity rather than a loss. Trying to enforce Government policy through discriminatory practice and the bypassing of Parliament by FSA enforcement is not the way forward.”

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