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Editorial: FSA&#39s blow for class system

Congratulations to the FSA and the Labour Government for striking a blow for the beleaguered British class system with a neo-feudal system of financial advice.

The barons get fee-charging independent financial consultants, the squires and knights, that&#39s you, Sir Howard, see fee-rebating IFAs. Middle England&#39s freeholding farmers get commission-charging distributors and freedmen have gap-filled banks.

The serfs have the Utopia of generic advice. In reality, the peasants as always get nowt but benefits – an improvement on 1066 – and disincentives to saving. Can we suggest the Government tries a similar sys-tem for the NHS – consultants for the rich, junior doctors for the middle classes, a trolley in a corridor for the poor and old, you get the gist. See how popular that would be.

A petty argument? Well, when the FSA&#39s research, particularly on RIY and even on commission bias, may actually back polarisation over the OFT&#39s competition concerns, it is difficult to see the point in intelligent argument.

Money Marketing will be debunking the FSA claims in coming weeks. It would be insulting to our readers to let them stand. But, as Aifa admits, the issue is to get the detail right.

The change does not mean Doomsday for intermediary businesses – did someone whisper there is profit in change?

What is lost is the opportunity to reconcile Government, IFA and consumer interests – if only the powers that be had stopped “reforming” and started listening. That chance has gone. The FSA and the Government are getting rid of the system not on the evidence but because they want to. William the Conqueror would be proud.

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