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FSA adds mortgages to its league tables

Mortgages have been added to the FSA&#39s consumer lea-gue tables following

the Treasury&#39s announcement that homeloans would be regulated.

The FSA&#39s tables, announced on Tuesday, use fewer criteria than originally

proposed.

Savings and investment products will be compared on the basis of price and

flexibility only. Other indicators dropped from the final draft include

risk and reward, financial strength, quality of service and product

features. It has also been confirmed that past performance will be

excluded.

The FSA says the tables should make people realise the importance of

independent advice. The tables will not make recommendations, offer advice

or rank the products in any order of merit.

The tables will be posted on the internet early next year following

consumer testing. It is expected the FSA&#39s disclosure regime will

eventually be rolled into the tables.

The full list of products for comparison are: personal pensions,

investment bonds, unit trust Isas, savings endowments and mortgage

endowments. Data collection will be outsourced to a third party.

Consumers will be able to compare up-front charges and total charges over

the lifetime of the products.

Flexibility is judged by being able to stop and start payments as well as

increasing and decreasing them.

The tables will indicate whether Isas and mortgages are Cat-standard.

FSA consumer relations director Christine Farnish says: “We have chosen

criteria that are factual and objective and those indicators which have

been left out were thought not to be.

“The tables should help consumers become more effective buyers. The

import-ance of advice should be better understood, which should enhance

business for independent advisers.”

But Sofa spokesman Robert Reid says: “This does not seem to take us much

further on from good quality websites.”

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “We must remember this is the

beginning and not the end.”

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