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Don&#39t tar us all with same brush

Dear Financial Services Consumer panel

Consumer confidence is being eroded on a daily basis by commentators who tar the entire industry with the same brush.

The real culprits are Gordon Brown with his tax on pension funds, MPs in the Treasury select committee who are out to make a name for themselves, so-called consumer bodies who also provide financial “advice” that is found to be lacking,the press with sensationalist reporting in an unbalanced manner, the FSA with their leaks and public naming without just cause and now yourselves, according to an article in Money Marketing.

The vast majority of IFAs are professional people who do their utmost to provide appropriate advice and decent service. They are totally responsible for all acts or omissions and they carry the burden up to and often beyond the grave. They have no right of appeal against Financial Ombudsman Service decisions. The chief ombudsman may try to convince them that they have an appeal mechanism through a judicial review but this only relates to procedural issues and is beyond the financial means of individual IFAs in any event.

The first nail in the coffin of consumer confidence was the so-called pension misselling review pushed upon the industry by Helen Liddell where thousands of unfortunate people were forced back into occupational schemes that have now been wound up (who will now compensate them?) or are mortally wounded by Gordon Brown&#39s immoral tax on pension funds, a tax that makes people wonder what else this Chancellor can do to any other Government imposed tax wrapper, now they are being further undermined by the ill conceived “Pension Protection Fund”, a project that is clearly yet another kneejerk reaction from a Government obsessed with control freakery.

The worst case of regulatory mismanagement is the Equitable Life debacle. The same regulators have been in charge since 1987. The name may have changed from the Securities and Investments Board to the Financial Services Authority but the same staff and culture remain, yet the Government refuses to compensate the “victims” of Equitable Life for their maladministration. Many IFAs were highly critical of Equitable Life but nobody took any notice other than the company itself,it threatened legal action against those critics.

Please be a little more careful in future, it would help everyone concerned if you brought some balance to your press statements.

IFA Defence Union

By e-mail

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