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Fears that filtering questions may lead to misselling

Many advisers are worried that the use of filtering questions could be open to abuse or lead to unqualified advisers providing advice.

Seventy-eight per cent believe that the use of filtering questions or decision trees could lead directly to lesser-qualified advisers offering advice.

The FSA&#39s depolarisation proposals have led to suggestions that decision trees should be used as a means of selling the Sandler suite products because they are simpler and the regulator argues that the products could be sold in a different way using decision trees as educative tools.

The FSA&#39s discussion paper 19 sets out options for the advice process. These range from placing the onus entirely on the customer to understand and purchase the product through filtering questions, to the adviser taking total responsibility for assessing the suitability of a product for his or her client.

Aifa holds the view that decision trees should not be a stand-alone tool for consumers excluding the adviser but should play a part in the advisory process.

Aifa director of public affairs Tracey Mullins says: “Just because a product is deemed &#39safe&#39, it does not mean it is suitable for everyone. Firms are also concerned that if they say they are offering no advice and just walking clients through a policy, they risk a comeback in the future from people who may believe that they were missold.”

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