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Good advice is hard to find

The business press puzzles me. To my mind, it is easy to differentiate between an adviser and a salesperson or organisation, yet week in week out, the business press attributes successful sales volume to advice.

For example, MM recently asked: “How did one of the most successful advisers in the UK come to be in this position?” Are you seriously suggesting that the David M Aaron Partnership gave advice to its (apparent) 7,200 precipice bond clients, or the other 140,000 on its mailing list? I have no objection if you call it an independent financial sales organisation.

Having been on the Aaron mailing list for some years, I have often questioned its marketing literature (and that of other direct mailers). I recall writing once to one of the with profits bond providers it was promoting because I felt the product explanation could have been more informative.

The reaction of the provider was, naturally, to protect its new business. After all,that is what all the insurance companies are interested in.

I also remember speaking to an Equity & Law representative when it launched its with-profits bond, which I felt had a number of shortcomings. Its reaction was: We have taken £200m so far, so it can&#39t be bad, can it?I wonder if commission had anything to do with it.

On a positive note, someone I believe will not mind being called a super salesman is Mike Edge, who had the timing just about right when he sold his interests in Chase de Vere.

As ever, the banks and insurance companies usually get the wrong bandwagon. While the banks take out their frustration at losing millions on those whose direct debits take them £1 in the red, by charging them £27 for the privilege, the insurance companies raid the already depleted with profits funds.

I wonder what next year will bring?

Peter Amott



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