Is commission drinking in the last chance saloon? That is the view of Aifa's director general Paul Smee. He has warned advisers that a failure to embrace the new payment menu could see politicians putting pressure on the FSA for a clampdown.
It is clear that the Treasury select committee has wreaked a lot of reputational damage on the advice industry and this is long before any published report on restoring confidence in long-term savings.
On what might be called another front, the LIA has just put in a paper in response to CP121 reopening the arguments on the menu by calling for a fee equivalence system.
Investment IFA BestInvest suggests that all IFAs need to wean themselves off up-front commission and move to trail and fees to end misselling and the suspicion of it.
But Aifa does not appear to have much appetite for renewed debate.
It also attributes a great deal of clout to the Treasury select committee. The committee is an influencer – it cannot order the FSA to do anything – but perhaps as its comments get harsher that influence grows. There are no doubt concerns among politicians as yet unexpressed that the menu is already too much of a compromise.
However, those who would attack commission outright need to consider what replaces it. Restricting commission say by tightening the definition of independence will simply pump-prime multi-ties which will surely increase, not decrease,reliance on commission.
The scenario that Aifa has mapped out is a Hobson's Choice. IFAs have grown used to those but it would be horrible if the result of the menu's failure was a return to the meltdown of independents that was the defined-payment system.