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Life Settlement industry draws up code as FSA interest grows

The European Life Settlement Association is to publish a code of practice to raise standards in the industry as the FSA shows heightened interest in the sector.

The move comes as FSA head of investment policy Peter Smith delivers a keynote speech on life settlements at the Elsa life settlements trade mission today.

He will address issues including treating customers fairly, sales by intermediaries and financial promotions.

Elsa joint chairman and SL Investment Management investment director Patrick McAdams says the code, which is close to being published, will cover issues such as conflicts of interest and transparency. He says: “The FSA has been in touch with providers asking what sort of product we sell and how much business we have done so they are obviously doing some digging at the moment to try to get a handle on how big a market this is and how concerned or not they should be.”

He says the majority of life settlement problems have stem­med from conflicts of interest where managers were paid a performance fee that was not actually linked to the investment’s end performance.

McAdams believes a benchmark valuation could help resolve this issue. He says: “Without a standard valuation methodology, where there is a performance fee, it is ripe for misuse.”

Alan Nedas Associates principal Alan Nedas says: “It is very important that a code of practice is established but hopefully it will have teeth and not just be another bureaucratic statement. The average individual investor has not got a clue as to what is behind a life settlement and what the intangibles are.”

Collapsed structured product Keydata was a significant life settlement product issuer with money invested with Luxemburg life settlement vehicles SLS Capital and Lifemark. Its business interests in this asset class and its third-party administration duties outweighed its own-branded structured product interests.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Chaps – thought you’d find this interesting – particularly the comment on performance fees. If there are any notes on the FSA’s keynote speech that would be really useful.

  2. To the moderator – please ignore my previous comment. I thought I was forwarding the article – haven’t woken up yet.

  3. Its about time the FSA had a closer look at this industry. Its smacks of “smoke and mirrors”.
    A pseudo with profits fund in the making!!!
    I just hope that all those that are exposed to this asset class don’t all rush for the exits at the same time.
    We will then find out out the true valuation of the underlying assets.

  4. “FSA interest grows”.

    Why is it always after the damage has been done as is the case with the likes of KeyData?

    Come on Hector, rattle a few departmental cages, kick a few stagnant dogs.

    Boy is it frustrating to have to watch after offering to help yet be told ‘recompense is complex’.

    Why bother with regulation when from down here all it is just a big book full of rules and regulations written by myopic people who fail to see the consequences of their actions?

    Will it be any better under the Tories? (if they get in!). I predict that the same people will be involved, the same old things recycled, the same black holes.

    I need a chill pill…

  5. Evan Owen. So much for your earlier comments about working with the regulator.

    “Evan Owen says it is time to realise that engagement with the regulator is better than confrontation.” – Money Marketing

    When will you realise you are doing nothing to support the IFA industry and are in fact, tarnishing everybody with your actions and comments.

    David Kenmir did not stop you from contacting his staff for no reason!

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