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CA defends campaign after concern by Smee

The Consumers&#39 Association has written to Aifa director general Paul Smee to express concern over his attitude to the CA&#39s campaign on endowment misselling.

Following a conversation with Smee at a Treasury forum last week, CA campaigns director Allan Asher has written a letter to Smee which also slams the FSA for having “failed to do enough to spur consumers to complain”.

Smee says the only worry he has with the CA&#39s endowmentaction campaign, launched last month, is that it could threaten the integrity of legislation for handling complaints.

But Asher says the impression he took away from his conversation with Smee is that Aifa feels the CA has gone “over the top” with the campaign and is “greatly overstating the problem, causing unnecessary concern and reflecting on the role and competence of IFAs”.

He says Smee implied that the CA was encouraging consumers to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service and creating concern where it is not warranted. Asher defends the campaign, claiming it only recommends people to go to the ombudsman as a last resort.

But he does concede that many endowments were sold by tied agents rather than IFAs, saying the CA&#39s Which? research “has consistently shown that IFAs provide the best quality advice”.

Asher says: “We thought IFAs demonstrated a real concern for consumers but my feeling is the implicit attack on the campaign by Mr Smee shows he is siding more with the industry than he should be.”

Smee says: “I am concerned that the integrity of the process that Parliament has laid down for the handling of complaints is followed.”

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