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FSA poised to tear polarisation apart with fundamental change

The FSA is set to cut the heart out of polarisation, with Aifa director general Paul Smee admitting that radical change is on its way.

The changes, which are expected to be announced next week, may even go as far as removing all distinctions between advisers, with tied, IFAs or multi-tied, called the same, claims one life office.

Following FSA chairman Howard Davies&#39 repeated efforts to apparently soften up the market for changes late last year, most are bracing themselves for extensive change which will be announced on Monday.

Aifa director general Paul Smee, while conceding that change is likely to be radical, says there are still a number of questions which he believes need to be answered.

Issues such as how an adviser&#39s status is disclosed, how the transparency of the market is affected, what independent advice will mean following change and how the competitive playing field is disrupted all must be addressed, says Smee.

Syndaxi Financial Plan-ning principal Robert Reid is predicting that networks may be in trouble as directly authorised multi-ties may be allowed, thus eliminating much of the advantage of belonging to a network.

Norwich Union sales and marketing director Peter Hales says: “It is no longer a question of whether we have depolarisation but how we depolarise. We are expecting quite considerable change, with some form of multi-ties allowed.”

Scottish Life head of communications Alasdair Buchanan says: “We expect change that will be more significant and of more concern than we tho-ught three months ago. Multi-ties are much more likely than they appeared to be then.”

Will it be a late start for the Isa season this year? Our panel assess the Isa prospects, plus: zeros still positive despite split-cap problems, Far East markets poised for sentiment surge

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