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Insurers questioning value of ABI kitemark

The ABI&#39s Raising Standards project could leave IFAs in an advice quandary and may not be worth the millions providers are preparing to pour into the initiative, claim some providers.

This week&#39s high-profile launch of the project, which is part of the Savings And Long Term Risk initiative, is being undermined by misgivings from providers.

Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society says the quality mark may not add to consumer understanding of fin- ancial products, while Legal & General is concerned that the project could become just another layer of red tape.

Twefs chief executive David White says: “The issue for independent advisers will be that, if life offices can gain accreditation but unit trust companies cannot, how can advisers use the mark to help clients distinguish between products?

“It would be foolish to sign up to this without being satisfied this is the best use of our members&#39 money. There is an awful lot more work to be done on this bef-ore we decide.”

But Twefs&#39 stance could mean it is left out in the cold if the ABI has its way.

Raising Standards proj-ect director Andrew Stoker told Money Marketing: “We would be pleased if life off-ices not signing up for acc-reditation were treated as social pariahs.”

L&G spokesman John Morgan says: “We are strong supporters of the FSA&#39s role as a primary regulator and at the moment the FSA is currently involved in a number of in-depth consultations with the industry.

“We would wish to see it establish itself as the primary regulator and are in no hurry to sign up to seeking accreditation under a potentially competing ABI scheme.”

The Raising Standard quality mark was launched this week with the aim of kitemarking” life and pension products which meet the Saltr criteria.

The aim of the kitemark is to guarantee clarity, quality and service.


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