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Bank on being better than Barclays

Barclays Financial Planning is telling its customers five reasons why Barclays is in some ways as good as if not better than an IFA.

The reasons range wide and far and include great choice, a one-stop shop, access to specialist advisers, the fact they will take a holistic view and personalised high-quality service.

Can we suggest that IFAs take a look at these reasons and pause for thought to consider Barclays’ claims.

We suggest that IFAs even ask friends or relatives about their own personal Barclays’ experience.

We then invite you to write in and say why they are better than Barclays or to surrender to the fact this bank has got the advice market in the bag with its great choice, one- stop shop, access to specialist advisers, holistic views and personalised high-quality service. We look forward to receiving your views.

Last week, the FSA’s Clive Briault asked analysts to ask more probing questions of life offices when it came to churning. Now Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst Mikir Shah wades into the churning debate but maybe not quite in the way Briault intended.

Shah takes issue with Ned Cazalet’s recent report, saying he has overstated the churning problem and that money is moving from weak to strong offices. He also says persistency problems lie more with life contracts not with pensions.

But could this be true, particularly when the FSA chairman Callum McCarthy picks up Cazalet’s ball and runs with it, using it to berate all and sundry in the pension sector including advisers about their broken model?

Now we aren’t taking sides, we will air the arguments and let readers decide.

But what if Shah is correct and Cazalet wrong? Surely, the FSA would not make policy on the hoof before it checked out the facts? And if Cazalet is correct, will all these interest groups also accept his views about the NPSS?

Maybe it is time that the regulator asked itself some probing questions.

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In the shade

Whenever I meet IFAs, after the initial pleasantries, I almost always find myself having to defend the views expressed in this column. The general consensus seems to be that I am unduly negative about IFAs and the good work that they do.

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