The FSA is mystery shopping IFAs and providers to check pre-stakeholder
plans are complying with RU64 and advertising does not mislead consumers.
The regulator will be looking at product structure and how plans are
advertised. Sources believe not all pre-stakeholder plans measure up to the
FSA's criteria which stipulates consumers must not be penalised if they
transfer to a stakeholder.
The mystery shop follows FSA letters to providers asking them to detail
their pre-stakeholder plans in terms of charges and transferability as well
ashow they will be sold.
The regulator refuses to reveal the scale of the shop or when the results
will be made public. Spokeswoman Jackie Blyth says a cross-section of firms
are being visited.
The FSA insists the shop and the letters are an information-gathering
Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says the
industry is confused about what constitutes stakeholder-friendly plans.
Although the final form of stakeholder is clear, not all of the details
have been published.
Pre-stakeholder plans are offered by most major life offices in some form,
both direct and through IFAs.
Stammers says: “Some companies may be falling short of offering a truly
stakeholder- friendly product because what constitutes friendly is not
clear. That is why we do not associate the term friendly with any ofour
When you're RU64, p34