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Food for thought in Sudan scandal

The role of intermediaries has been likened to a number of occupations – some more flattering than others.A popular parallel has been that of a general practitioner, dispensing advice and solutions based on the circumstances of the individual.

More complex situations are invariably referred to as specialists in a particular field, further reinforcing the similarity.

More recently, I recall the regulator using the example of selling tins of baked beans as an apt metaphor for the distribution process, in what was doubtless a well intended attempt to demystify the whole advisory issue in the eyes of the public.

However, I can think of no compelling example in which an intermediary, who accepts product descriptions from highly regarded manu-facturers in good faith, is sub-sequently held responsible for their components.

This could set some inter-esting legal precedents. For instance, will GPs have to revisit their PI policies with the fear that their friendly medical representative may have marketed a dodgy product to them in the past? I somehow think that SmithKline and Roche are not going to get away with product recalls and lawsuits any more easily in the future. Only a fortnight ago, the FSA was forced to recall hundreds of toxic products in a slightly belated attempt to protect consumers.

OK, a different regulator in a different sector, but I do not anticipate that there will be too many prosecutions of Marks & Spencer or Morrisons in this context. Sudan 1, Splits 1, Structured 1, IFAs 0 – take your pick.

Philip Dodd, PSD Robinson Gear, Manchester


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