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Autif and FSA polar row

Autif is calling on the FSA to depolarise all Isas, not just the Catmarked variety, according to FSA head of investment business policy David Severn.

Speaking at a conference in London last week on How Changes to Polarisation Will Affect Your Business, Severn said Autif wants “the FSA to consider liberalising Isas across the piece.”

But Autif claims Severn has got it wrong, insisting that in its submission to the first phase of the polarisation consultation it was against the depolarisation of Catmarked Isas.

Autif PR manager Clare Arber says: “Autif has not asked for Isas to be depolarised. We did question the FSA&#39s proposal to relax the polarisation requirements in the case of Cat-standard Isas.”

Treasury economic secretary Melanie Johnson has also come under fire after speaking at the same event. Industry sources claim that she appeared to have already conceded the abolition of polarisation in phase two of the review.

At the conference, Johnson said: “By bringing the way that financial products are sold in the UK into step with other countries, we will boost competition and choice further, as we make it easier for companies and practices from overseas to enter the UK markets.”

LIA public affairs director John Ellis says it hardly seems correct for the Treasury to prejudge the outcome of the FSA&#39s consultation exercise before it even has begun.

Ellis says: “It is quite wrong for the minister to be making comments of that kind in advance of the consultation to be taken forward in phase two.”

Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “It suggests to me that the Treasury wants the UK to adopt the European regime which does not have polarisation.

“If that interpretation is correct it seems that minds are made up already on phase two of the review.”

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