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Julian Gibbs

The FSA and other regulators have generally performed a good service for the financial services profession and have managed to get rid of nearly all the rogues and the fools as well as helping to improve standards.

However, the FSA&#39s new ideas on abolishing polarisation are totally mad in that the consumer will now become even more confused.

In an ideal world, the idea of consumers paying for financial advice is worthy but the FSA, unfortunately, does not consist of executives with practical experience of dealing personally with the public.

I have now had over 49 years&#39 experience in the financial services world, both as a practitioner and as a journalist, and I know from experience that over 90 per cent of people are not prepared to pay fees for financial advice and, when it comes to the point, prefer to reward the IFA by commission.

The FSA press release is headed, Consumers put first in proposed major reform in financial advice. In my opinion, it is putting consumers last and has given in to the companies with big salesforces or direct marketing budgets.

Many of the well managed, innovative, smaller life companies will be put out of business under the new rules. The market will contract substantially, with perhaps only half a dozen major players left. This will reduce competition, put the majority of IFAs out of business and probably cost the consumer more, too.

The proposals will prevent consumers having access to truly independent financial advice in many parts of the UK without having to pay a fee. It is totally disgraceful that the FSA should give in to the direct-selling and direct-marketing companies at great future cost to the consumer. It is time that the FSA lived in the real world.


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