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Conspiracy theory

In the English language there are many words used to describe a group of creatures. A pride of lions, for example. In recent years, I have been looking for an expression that would aptly describe a room of compliance officers. I have come up with a conspiracy of compliance officers.

I believe this is appropriate because I have yet to get documentation from two mainstream providers for a similar class of business that could be described as identical or even relatively similar.

However, each provider holds the view that their interpretation of the documentation that needs to be issued in order to be compliant is correct. This is where my conspiracy theory starts.

I feel sure that compliance officers have a secret society which meets at regular intervals and at which they agree never to agree. This means that the documentation prepared by different providers will always be different because if it was all the same, then, at a stroke, they will all have rendered themselves redundant.

I have two substantial money-purchase pension schemes which serve to illustrate the point. On one, when a potential new member is identified, we give them a pre-sale illustration, they fill out an application, we then give them a post-sale illustration and a membership certificate, all provided by the host office.

On the second, we give out a pre-sale illustration, the application form is completed, no post-sale illustration is prepared but a cooling-off notice is addressed to the trustees. Both providers claim the routine they use is the one which is compliant. What I cannot understand is why there should be any difference at all.

One other point occurred to me in that the acronym derived from conspiracy of compliance officers is Coco. When I was a lad, this was the name of a well respected clown who,I believe, was a star of Bertram Mills&#39 famous circus. Need I say more.

Mel Bousted

Barbican Independent Financial Advisors,

Peterborough, Cambs

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