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Editorial: Put yourself and consumers first

The FSA&#39s spin-doctored announcement on the axing of polarisation has as its heading: “Consumers put first in proposed reform of financial advice”.

This is simply not true. A more accurate heading would be “Consumers put last as overwhelming demand for IFAs ignored”.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum but most IFAs realised that long ago.

The changes will confound consumers, with possibly five or six levels of adviser. Better than best is not reformed, it is dumped and providers and IFAs are effectively encouraged to seek investment from providers. The dash for distribution can only accelerate, with multi-ties sapping entrepreneurship from distribution.

The regulator says commission bias exists although it exonerates panels from the accusation that they are de facto multi-ties. Intriguingly, it also says the 1 per cent world has excluded consumers from advice.

This is not a death warrant for IFAs. On the commission reform, IFAs can take a fee from the commission and rebate the rest. It may be the one sensible move but only if multi-ties, now known as distributor firms, are not given a regulatory licence to fleece consumers. It is also essential that those who wish to remain independent are allowed time to adapt. Finally, the new proposals bizarrely lack any explanation of how the new system would avoid a repeat of Equitable Life or pension misselling.

Our position, as always, is that we will not condemn readers who choose to multi-tie but we believe that as many people as possible should get access to IFAs.

In the coming months of turmoil, Money Marketing has this advice for its readers: Be selfish on behalf of two groups of people – yourselves and your clients.

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Global benefits predictions for 2015 from Jelf International

According to Doug Rice, managing director of international services, in 2015, managing their international duty of care will become an increasing focus for UK-based overseas organisations in both managing their short- and longer-term challenges. As a result, strong independent advice and innovative technological solutions will become more important than ever in managing their global benefits.

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