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IFAs want support for with-profits

Nearly three-quarters of IFAs believe providers do not give them suitable training and information on with-profits, according to Aifa research.

The research finds that 85 per cent of advisers feel they have sufficient knowledge to advise on with-profits but 72 per cent think providers do not offer IFAs suitable training and relevant information to support them.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says the results of its first initiative found that overall, advisers were providing “good practice” when giving advice on these products.

But Cummings says there are still areas to be addressed. He says less complex and more comparable information about the funds in question must be made available from providers.

He suggests there is a prevalence of predetermined views about with-profits funds and advisers need to ensure that they are fully informed about the details of the products they are advising on.

Cummings also highlights the need for a debate over how to tackle dormant or inactive clients and on issues surrounding switching clients.

The research also found “a general nervousness” by advising on an area which has been the subject of much adverse comment.

A total of 564 firms took part in the study, which Aifa says is the biggest piece of research on with-profits undertaken.

Cummings says: “What emerges from this research is the strong divergence of views which advisers hold on withprofits products. This is not surprising as it reflects the complexity of the many issues which need to be considered.”

Financial Ombudsman Service decisions director and principal ombudsman Tony Boorman says: “Anything that helps contextualise disputes will be of value to our successors when they come to consider disputes about advice given today.

“I am happy to welcome this first strand of work on with-profits as the first step in what will be a valuable contribution to future complaint management and decision-making.”


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