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FSA plants seed for decision trees to shake out IFAs

The decision tree is already bearing poisoned fruit.

The relationship between IFAs and providers is now under a pernicious attack with the stakeholder pension and accompanying trees as the excuse.

Money Marketing understands that the regulator has told providers that, where clients are introduced to them by an IFA,if at any time they are subsequently taken through a decision tree by a call centre rep, then the IFA is, at least temporarily, cut out of any payment.

The rep must redirect the potential client back to the IFA for advice if the IFA is to be paid and if the client opts to proceed through the tree, the adviser is permanently cut out.

The irony is that IFAs have been gearing up to cope with the semi-nationalised pension world despite price capping and regulatory interference. The pension reform by its very complexity was set to increase dramatically the need for advice. But this move is depressing news.

It was always possible to accuse the Government of being intent on cutting advice out of the pension process when it imposed an unresearched, untested charging cap that made cost-effective marketing almost impossible.

But with these plans, the FSA may be actively cutting IFAs out of the process as it bids to help product providers take a cut of the all too small stakeholder cake.

It is stacking the odds against the IFA who found the business in the first place. The actions of the regulator are increasingly at odds with the interests of the small businesses it regulates.

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