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CA relegates league as FSA rejects compulsion

The Consumers&#39 Association has attacked the FSA&#39s proposed league tables, saying they will be seriously undermined because there is no compulsion for product providers to participate.

If firms are not compelled to hand over information about their product ranges, the tables will not offer a complete or accurate picture of the marketplace, says the CA.

The FSA says it will not force providers to join but any that do must provide details of their entire product range. They will not be able to leave out poorly performing products, which the CA says may lead to some providers not joining the scheme at all.

But providers say they plan to wait and see how the tables are constructed before committing themselves.

The first league tables are set to appear by the end of this summer and will cover investment products and personal pensions. They will include information on price, distribution channels and flexibility options.

The concept has come in for criticism because it does not include past performance, which the industry says is essential for relevance for consumers.

CA senior policy adviser Mick McAteer says: “This will undermine the effectiveness of the tables. I am not very confident that people realising companies are not on the tables will be enough to force them to provide information. Especially for some of the less reputable companies, there will be little motivation to join.”

FSA spokesman Andy Fleming says: “We expect providers to make the tables a central part of their marketing strategy. We are looking at making it as easy as possible for providers to contribute their details. If a par- ticular provider is not on them, they are not going to be in the race, are they?”

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