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Do not condemn us for asserting our rights

The payment menu and initial disclosure document were dropped because the European Union said it was illegal and Aifa said it wished the FSA had been honest about why its brainchild was now defunct.

The retail distribution review, as it was, became a shrivelled-up interim report because the EU said it was all sorts of things other than what Aifa and the FSA, oh, and the Personal Finance Society, Chartered Insurance Institute and Uncle Tom Cobley said it was.

Examples of comments over the past 12 months were: “It’s a done deal”, “Prepare for the new model”, “Get some qualifications”, “Commission is dead” and so many other inane statements, it made my eyes glaze over.

Now we have the FSA preparing itself for “transparency”, just before the Information Tribunal gives its decision on the Lautro 12 (or more), just after the Treasury lost its appeal.

Angela Eagle sent an IFA’s MP a letter in which she proclaimed: “Commission accounts for 40 per cent of total life industry costs.”

We asked for evidence supporting this incredible sum. We were told it was the Association of British Insurers which produced the figures, so she was shown evidence that commission on a typical pension contract was a mere 1.5 per cent of the expenses.

Please remember that this misapprehension was feeding the anti-commission stance within the RDR.

When it was shown that IFAs were not the greedy people as portrayed by the ABI, we saw an immediate softening of policy being handed down by the Treasury to the FSA for implementation. Yes, the FSA is controlled by policymakers in Government.

Why did all this happen? Well, for those of you who are arrogant enough to think we are a bunch of unprofessional nutters, it was all down to the IFA Defence Union, its members and its friends challenging each and every piece of paper the FSA throws at you.

For those who say we have damaged the reputation of IFAs, please pause before you condemn us again and wonder why all other representative bodies have been claiming victories which are not theirs to claim.

While I am writing, if anyone at Her Majesty’s Treasury is reading this, we would invite them to make the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 legal. In other words, make it entirely compatible with Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and we will go away, I promise.

Until then, we will continue to campaign assertively for our democratic rights that no other profession is denied.

Evan Owen
Chairman, IFA Defence Union,
Gwynedd, Wales

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