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Fear that political dogma could mean axe for Asps

Suffolk Life director of sales and marketing John Moret says there is a danger that alternatively secured pensions will be axed in the pre-Budget report because political dogma is overshadowing common sense within the Government.

Speaking at the IFP annual conference in Leicester last week, Moret said the Government has got itself into a “pickle” over the issue and an obvious way out is a PBR U-turn.

He said the FSA should clamp down on pension transfer problems such as issues with transfer values and delays, saying this behaviour was “totally incompatible” with treating customers fairly.

Moret said: “Political dogma is being allowed to influence policy far more than common sense. Regrettably, there is a real chance we will see a U-turn in the pre-Budget report.”

Winterthur Life pensions strategy manager Mike Morrison also highlighted worries over the future of Asps, saying it is hard for advisers to focus on the issue when they do not know for certain if the product is here to stay.

Morrison said there were three possible outcomes – either the benefit will be removed for everyone, it will be clarified as available to everyone or the tax penalties for using the product will be increased to prevent abuses.

He said that in meetings with Treasury officials, they have appeared happy that Asps are not being misused but he doubts this will be enough to satisfy Chancellor Gordon Brown or Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls.

Morrison said: “It would be funny if the situation was not so serious. Do we want to get into Asps until we know that they are going to stay?”


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