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John Joseph on Protection

For my band of devout followers, the first critical-illness conference was almost a 100 per cent success, with 46 out of 47 attendees giving it excellent reviews. There was one unhappy person who was not impressed as he could not hear all that was going on – and the bit that he did hear, he had heard before.

I have decided to repeat the conference on June 2 and, once again, it will be an all-day training and advice-orientated day. This time, I am limiting the attendees to 40, as this is the optimum number to get the maximum out of the day. To register, please email conference@jjfs.com with your contact details. The cost is £100 for the day.

Anyway, on to an Earth-shattering piece of news.Norwich Union listened and reversed its earlier decision in respect of convertible term not actually converting to anything, and now, our top man Lawrence Jackson, assisted by the able Ms Paula Astle, is looking at any queries you may have. Congratulations to Norwich for putting people with brains in the front line.

On the other hand, all those of you who have clients that took out Commercial Union convertible term way back when the Earth&#39s crust was just forming may remember that there was a time when the convertible term policy could convert to another convertible term policy, meaning you could extend the time the client had in which a decision was to be made, in respect of switching to either a further term or a whole of life or an endowment RIP.

Well, this type of policy has come as a surprise to the “helpline” staff as they are insistent that it cannot but it is not really a surprise as some of them were not born when those policies were sold.

But no matter what the policy says, the “helpline” does not seem to get the message. So, if you are lucky enough to have a client with this exceptional type of policy and you get someone who does not know his or her convertible from a term policy, call me and I will give you the email address of someone who does.

And finally this week, a story to warm the cockles of your heart. Do you remember the far-off days, when the people employed at Canary Wharf seemed to think that the best way to get a financial adviser to comply with a rulebook of some 1,000 pages was for two of them to arrive within 24 hours of a phone call and intimidate you into finding a fault, no matter how insignificant?

I fondly remember two who were so sure that they needed to investigate a case of a client insisting on giving execution-only (they said it was not), so I was at fault.

That particular team fell to pieces when one had to retire early due to stress and the other (who, after one year of investigation, admitted they were wrong) also retired from stress. Not that I can be bothered to enquire, but the thought has occurred to me that if these two retired early due to ill health (self-inflicted as far as I am concerned), then we – by definition of some of our fees going to pay pension premiums for the FSA employees – are still paying for them. I am not sure whether the above is a “good news/bad news” subject but after all the stress they put me through, I do not wish them better.

However, I got on to this subject as I have recently had the pleasure of meeting and being assisted by Paul Smith, who heads the investment firms division of the FSA. A more helpful and friendly man I have yet to meet, considering that he is one of them (regulators, I mean) and I am pleased to say I am now fully compliant in respect of professional indemnity. If you are having a problem, then do speak to Paul or his team.

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