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Brassneck Sandler angers advisers at CII bash

Rarely, if ever, have I seen a public speaker so misjudge the mood of their audience.

Northern Rock boss Ron Sandler’s brassneck speech at the CII President’s dinner on Tuesday night, in which he laboured in his defence of banking institutions whilst hitting out at his audience of advisers and insurance companies, left a sour taste in the mouths of many guests.

Following on from the well received speech from Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews, Government golden-boy Sandler set about a staunch defence of the indefensible.

Like a well-rehearsed lawyer defending a client who is guilty as sin, Sandler spent much of his speech calling on his audience to recognise the good work of the banks and not to vilify the greedy individuals who have got the country into such a state.

Part of Sandler’s reasoning for defending the banks was that he had to given he is a past president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. Perhaps the opposite should have been true and this heritage should have made him even angrier at the way certain banks have behaved in recent times.

He then followed up with a few cheap shots against his adviser audience. Sandler crowed about how he uncovered how terrible the industry was when he conducted his long term savings review in 2002, which led to the ill-fated suite of stakeholder products.

Although Sandler came up with some correct assumptions at the time in terms of the need for greater consumer empowerment and the problems created in a world where advice is not valued, his obsession with price was a chief reason for the failure of the products to take off.

Sandler’s speech appeared to represent the views of a group of banking institutions who, despite everything that has happened over the past year, are still in denial.

He used the issue of commission as a stick to attack advisers but any problems in this area have been seen far more prevalently in the banking community than anywhere else in recent times.

The adviser arms of banks, masquerading as top-end advisers, have been at the centre of the scandals surrounding the AIG enhanced fund and Lehman-backed structured products, with hefty commissions paid to their advisers to shift large amounts of clients into such products.

Perhaps Sandler’s speech should have focused on the need to clean up dodgy advice being given out by his banking friends rather than hitting out at advisers, especially considering the great strides towards increased professionalism many IFAs listening to the speech have already taken.

Were you there? Let me know what you think.


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Typical Banker
    I don’t know why anyone is surprised, it is everyone else that is at fault not the banks. Excessive time, effort and money is spent regulating IFAs who represent a tiny fraction of the regulatory risk with the UK Financial System, but we are easy targets. Is this the same Sandler who was in charge of Northern Rock and allowed it to lend a further£800m – not my fault!!! No doubt he will be looked after by the old boys and pop up again as chairman of some Quango where he can paid excessive amounts of money for very little value add.

  2. Douglas Carroll 20th March 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Brassneck Sandler angers advisers at CII bash
    Just like many others involved in fouling-up the financial affairs of this country, which includes the regulators and the government, Sandler is behaving like a small child who has been seen to kick a ball through the kitchen window. When questioned the answer is always the same; “It wasn’t me”. No, of course it wasn’t Mr. Sandler, it was the child next door, as always!

  3. Suite of Sandler
    His opinion echoes that of his political master who, unfortunately, has enough time left to finish IFAs off and do what the banks have been trying to do for two decades. After much lobbying we now have the more intelligent media people and some understanding politicians on our side, it will be a close run thing but proving that the banks are not the most trustworthy distribution channel is key to nailing the likes of Sandler to his ‘Suite’ and making him walk the plank.

  4. Shows they don’t understand…
    The comments from Sandler does not surprise anybody these days. He is still a banker at heart and feels that the banking industry has done nothing wrong or was misunderstood. I have found little use for the work that he carried out, its conclusions and the misguided issue of focusing on price only with the stakeholder products. A nonsense concept if ever there was one. The new age Banker is actually a salesman and nothing more. We see examples of it everyday misseling with bank clients being switched into corporate bonds from deposit accounts. No or little explanation of risks. No prizes for guessing who I am talking about. Pity old Sandlers does not understand his own professions business practices better.

  5. Sandler
    As is usual for this chump he blows his own trumpet from the area from his rear at the top of his legs! Another Blair/Brown cronie who has no touch with reality and only listens to him self.

  6. Holding the stake..
    I forgot about his personal flop called ‘Stakeholder, he may feel let down by IFAs.-

  7. Brassneck Sandler
    Sandler is the architect of a failed philosophy. He is also the defender of a failed system. In that sense his is also a failure and should no longer be used for reports, comments, surveys or any other area where his ideas might taint the industry.

  8. Do as I say not as I do – says Mr Sandler
    Mr Sandler’s salary for Northern Rock was reported as £90,000 per month and he is not domiciled for personal tax purposes in the United Kingdom. So why is it that a man of such wealth failed to understand why the paltry take-up of stakeholders was guaranteed. Remove distribution costs and you remove distribution, simple as that Mr Sandler!
    SIMON MANSELL Temple Bar IFA Ltd

  9. Ron Sandler should resign
    Ron Sandler should be forced to resign, along with all of his Government and banking cronies.

    We all konw that the problems lays quite firmly at the feet of a Government who have sold off the family silver, the greedy banks who continue on their quest of self interest, and a regulator intent on destroying the industry it regulates

    Although I was not at the CII event, Ron Sandler’s performance seems inline with a similar performace from Ms Amanda Bowes who did a similar trick at the Sesame Symposium.


    Has anyone noticed how Northern Rock’s repossessions have gone through the roof since Sandler took over? HMMMMMMM!

    The sooner the country wakes up and turfs this shody government out on it’s ear along with all of it’s cronies, to hopefully be replaced by an administration containing the head of AIFA at it’s heart,and a new Bank of England led regulator that actually understands the professionalism that already exists in our industry, the better.

    Either that or we all may as well follow Uncle Ron’s example and fly off to some Tax Exempt state in the sun.

  10. Brassneck Sandler angers advisers at CII bash
    It’s no surprise to hear how out of touch Sandler is with reality. These people who are asked by the goverment of the day to produce a report are usually only interested in saying what they think the govenment wants to hear so that they stand a better chance of being awarded an honour in the future. The banks have been dreadful at advising clients. Thank God that is the case. It leaves a pretty clear field for genuine IFAs.

  11. Not even really a worthy headline
    He is what he is, a Bank man- listen to some of the stuff the current spokespeople for the BBA spout and understand their depth of duplicity. For example one of the banks I feel honoured to nearly own increased their advisers targets by 20 per cent this year no doubt driven by all the awful deposit rates they now pay. One slight point of disagreement though, the stakeholder suite never really failed the insurers (or the banks) as their mirror funds kept the charges rollling in and allowed them to bleat about commissions at the same time. Result.

  12. Bernard F Macken 23rd March 2009 at 9:43 am

    Sandler was boss of the much bigger Nat West when it was taken over by a much smaller Bank of Scotland in a hostile take over. How dare he criticise.

  13. Spread the Word!
    Some good comments here – I do hope that each and every one of those who contribute are also regularly updating their MP and anyone else who will listen. The public have no sympathy with the FSA, the Banks or the Government, and at last we have an opportunity to drive more nails into their coffins. The IFA community will have no-one to blame but themselves if we allow this opportunity to pass. Spread the word!

  14. Sandler
    Once again we are subjected to a barrage of ill found criticism from individuals who believe they are beyond any form of criticism of themselves . The banks and the quangos that purport to run the financial services industry have made such a mess of their time in so called power it is now time that they are divested of this power and face up to the mistakes they have made and are continuing to make.

  15. Balance
    Firstly, think about the positives he uncovered in his 2002 review and how they were then bottled by the FSA, Treasury, Banks et al.

    He said: –

    1. Business processes faced by IFAs were far-too paper driven and uneconomical – a consequence of the pension review. He was certainly right in this – and FSA then responded by adding Menus, IDDs etc to the mix…

    2. That some products should simply be ‘product regulated’ with no ‘conduct of business regulation’. Now, we all know that could be open to abuse. But if IFAs had been able to have ‘simple’ products without conduct of business rules, FOS jurisdiction etc, wouldn’t that have helped the IFA sector? [FSAs response was simply that dreadful uneconomic compromise called Basic Advice; the insistence of including price caps apparently came from Daniel Oppenheimer, the Treasury official who acted as secretary to his review]

    3. He raised the issue of implementing ‘factory gate pricing’ (or ‘Customer Agreed Remuneration’ or ‘adviser charging’) in 2002 when FSA was pushing its ‘Defined Payment System’ that would have reduced the number of practising IFAs in the UK to about a dozen. FSA bottled this compromise at the timer – and now we have the RDR instead, the economic drivers to which would have been averted had we seen a phased transition to FGP/CAR from 2002 onwards.

    4. He also quite rightly pointed out limitations in the FPC/CeFA and the lack of focus on investment fundamentals such as these got quickly changed. [Compare that to c.2 years of confusion over RDR and the move to level 4].

    Now of course, he was quite wrong the other night to be having a go at IFAs in the current context, when the Banks are giving appalling advice to cover product sales (quite apart from the economic crisis and bailouts). And he was clearly wrong not to direct his fire at the Treasury and Authorities…

  16. Mr Sandler
    Why is anybody surprised at Sandler’s comments? He has never been in touch with the issue at hand, but has been following the agenda of the Treasury/FSA. How a Regulatory body can villify and denegrate IFA’s, who are responsible for only a tiny fraction of complaints, is beyond sane reason. The FSA should have been tackling the Banks and the issues of their appalling advice and customer satisfaction from the beginning. However, the Banks voice is louder than ours and their lobbying power much greater, so the Treasury/FSA will not stop until the IFA sector is destroyed and all customers driven into the welcoming arms of the Banks, to be fleeced at their leisure, with impunity. Don’t let the public say they weren’t warned.

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