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Cofunds widens fee test

Cofunds is extending its fee option pilots scheme to 25 other firms but remains uncertain on a launch date for the new payment model.

Marketing and proposition director Alastair Conway says the option is being tested beyond its initial single partner firm to 25 others from July but the platform cannot confirm when it will be available to all users.

Cofunds announced plans last autumn to support fee-based advisers in the first half of 2008. Conway says Cofunds recognises some advisers prefer commission while others want to be paid by fees on products such as cash.

He says: “When we are certain that we can deliver it in a robust, scaleable way to the large market segment that we have and that those customers we do not have will join us as a result of having it, we will roll it out on a wider scale.”

“We want to see how some of the pilot work is going to make sure we have got all the right ingredients in place. The last thing I would want to do is disappoint people.”

Conway says problems over re-registration can only take be remedied with the “evolution of a technology solution” that is not currently available.

He says: “The market seems to allow the obscene amount of time it takes for a pension transfer to go through to continue unchallenged while what is by comparison a relatively slick process keeps getting argued about.

“There is a danger the argument is being perpetuated by relatively small platforms with relatively little assets which would clearly like to find ways of extracting assets off platforms which already have a large footprint.”


Concern over Bright Grey’s online system

Insurance application outsourcing firm MorganAsh says it is worried over the quality of Bright Grey’s online application system after the provider admitted that large numbers of applicants are having to make material changes to their forms.

Third dimension

Aegon and Standard Life have both set out plans to introduce variable annuities this year.

Rooftop to close

Rooftop Mortgages, the UK specialist subsidiary of US bank Bear Stearns, is set to close after withdrawing its entire range last Friday.


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