The Investment and Life Assurance Group has attacked the ABI's Saltr standards initiative, saying it may fall foul of FSA disclosure plans.
In an internal position statement, Ilag says the ABI should wait until it is clear what the FSA plans to do in its disclosure review before pressing ahead with the plan.
It says the requirements that life offices must meet before they can achieve Saltr accreditation are onerous on smaller players, which would have difficulty meeting the costs involved.
It claims the costs to reprint marketing literature, upgrade internal systems and employ an outside firm to conduct consumer surveys are more than smaller life offices can afford.
A Saltr spokesman says a lot of companies are planning to adopt Saltr over the long term to deal with some of the unavoidable costs.
Ilag chairman Phil Smallwood says he has yet to see any evidence that consumers would be better served by extending the cooling-off period from 14 days to 30 days as proposed by Saltr. He says if there was a case the FSA would extend it. Saltr had wanted to extend it to 60 days.
Smallwood says: “If the FSA brings out different recommendations in its review of disclosure we might be forced to go through the entire process again. Perhaps the ABI should wait to see what comes out of that before they press ahead.”
Saltr project director Stuart Tragheim says: “All the FSA's comments in its recent position paper were positive. We are working very closely with the regulator and do not see any problems.”
The 39 member companies of Ilag include Swiss Life, Friends Provident, Nationwide and Bupa.