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IF and Charcol in launch deal

For the first time, Bungle Busters turns the spotlight on the Government and regulators after a Money Marketing investigation into allegations that they were baffling the public.

The DSS has issued an apology after it published jumbled information on Serps on its website.

Opra corrected its website after MM alerted the regulator that it was giving conflicting information on stakeholder tax relief.

One part of the site advised those paying income tax at the higher rate of 40 per cent that they would be able to claim back the tax difference from the Inland Revenue at the end of the tax year.

But the industry was bewildered when another part of the website geared at employers said the tax credits for those paying 40 per cent income tax would be sent direct to the trustee or scheme manager by the Revenue.

Opra regulatory director Joe Robertson says: “We have not yet found out why the differing information appeared but we are changing the website.”

The DSS is also under fire this week as even pension gurus were mystified by the DSS&#39s information on the reduction in the amount of Serps that can be inherited from October 2002.

Scottish Equitable pensions development manager Steve Cameron says: “I wonder how many of the public would agree with the awarding of the crystal mark for plain English for the website.”

DSS spokesman John Fennessey says: “Unfortunately, due to a technical problem with our internet provider, we published jumbled information. The problem has been rectified and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused.”

Intelligent Finance says it has “reached an agreement” with John Charcol which means Charcol will “support” the launch of IF.

IF, the internet and phone banking arm of Halifax, says it has been in negotiations with broker John Charcol and has agreed to offer its range of products through the broker&#39s various distribution channels.

The move further underlines the move by Charcol parent Bradford & Bingley away from offering its own products in a bid to become a leading mortgage broker.

IFAs say IF is making announcements about different deals in a bid to detract from the delay of its high-profile launch.

IF is still yet to launch despite claims that it would be ready in August.

The internet bank had to postpone its start-up in July over fears that its systems would not cope with the demand from customers and volume of business.

IF claims the glitches in the system were resolved shortly after the delay but it is still preceding with caution and says it will open to the public in September.

It will run a trial scheme with its staff before the service goes live to the public.

IF sales director Ian Jeffery says: “We have been in negotiations with John Charcol and as a result we have reached an agreement where it will support the launch of IF and offer its range of products through its various distributions.”

London & Country Mortgages mortgage adviser David Hollingworth says: “IF is offering a deal which will be distributed through brokers. It has a slick marketing function and it looks like it is now pumping up its profile in time for its launch date.”

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