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LIA and Aifa attack FSA move to &#39de-skill&#39 advice

The LIA and Aifa say FSA plans for simplified products will de-skill financial advice and they want to see qualifications for the sale of stakeholder products.

The LIA and Aifa are pressing for an exam and training sessions for people selling the simplified products.

They are against FSA proposals that would see a scrip-ted list of suitability questions being read to clients to judge what products can be sold.

LIA head of public affairs John Ellis believes this app-roach is destined to fail in firms where all the advisers are unqualified.

The trade bodies have made their points in respon-ses to an FSA consultation paper called A Basic Advice Regime for The Sale of Stakeholder Products.

Aifa believes that a better route would be to alter the limited advice regime that is being put in place for workplace advice on group pensions.

Aifa says: “Giving financial advice is a skilled activity. It requires an empathy with and understanding of consumers.

“It requires an ability to translate and apply information given in good faith by consumers. The consultation paper proposes that this is effectively de-skilled in circumstances where the outcome of a poor purchasing decision is likely to be particularly adverse.”

Ellis says: “It would worry us if the role of financial advice is downplayed. It takes a certain amount of knowledge to assess if a client can afford something. We can see how this simplified sales regime would work in bigger firms though.”

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