The article by Peter Hargreaves What does the client want, Mr Sandler
(Money Marketing, August 16) raised some important issues regarding action
by the financial services industry over clarity and customer service.
The industry is, in fact, addressing those issues through the Raising
Standards quality mark scheme. Forty-nine brands, representing 82 per cent
of the life and pension market, have expressed their support for this
scheme, which is voluntary and applies to financial services brands
want-ing to implement the initiative's promises and standards.
The PPIAB was established in 2000 as an independent body to accredit
brands and verify that all the eight standards are attained to ensure
clarity and comparability of information, appropriateness of products
purchased and customer service. Charges paid by the brands for their
accreditation enable us to be self-funding.
The purpose of accreditation is to foster public confidence in the
pensions, protection and investments industry through PPIAB performing and
promoting an independent accreditation role, and acting as custodian and
promoter of the quality mark, impartially and effectively.
The quality mark covers products that are bought by individuals to meet
long-term savings and protection needs. These include individual life and
pensions such as whole of life, term insurance, annuities, endowments,
personal and executive pensions, FSAVCs, stakeholder, long-term care and
retail collective investment schemes, such as Isas, unit trusts, Oeics.
Group products are currently excluded, except where the contact is
essentially with the individual, such as group personal pensions and
In July 2001, we received the first applications from brands seeking the
new Raising Standards quality mark and will be announcing the first
accreditations in mid-October.
The industry, by introducing this voluntary scheme, is addressing concerns
that have been expressed over a number of years regarding clarity and
quality of service to its customers.
Pensions, Protection Investments Accreditation Board, London