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Call to widen safety net

Financial Services Consumer Panel chairman Lord Lipsey says the 35,000 guarantee on deposits should apply to each brand rather than each bank.

Lipsey told a fringe event at the Labour conference that many consumers were unaware that different brands were part of the same institution.

He said: “I think that if any institution fails, you are going to find it incredibly difficult if people say: ‘I thought I was protected because I had a Halifax account and a Bank of Scotland account but now you are saying they are all one institution and I have lost 35,000 as a result.’

“I do not think it is politi-cally sustainable, quite apart from morally so.”

He said the solution was favoured by banks and consumer groups.

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Next year, April 5 will not only mark the end of the tax year and the start of a new cycle of financial planning but will also mark the last date that clients are able to register their pre-A-Day (pre-April 5, 2006) pension funds for enhanced or primary protection. Therefore, with the cut- off point to register for enhanced or primary protection looming, advisers must take action now if their clients are to benefit from these opportunities.

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