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Lockyer wants explanation from Standard&#39s Crombie on &#39cynical&#39 BBB comment

Berkeley Berry Birch chairman Clifford Lockyer is writing to Standard Life chief executive Sandy Crombie asking him to explain comments attributed to him in which he referred to “cynical” practices by BBB.

Crombie, testifying before the Treasury select committee last week, criticised BBB&#39s move to wind up its subsidiary company Berry Birch & Noble Financial Services, thereby ringfencing any potential liabilities, saying “these cynical practices are to be condemned”.

Lockyer is sending a letter to Crombie asking him to explain himself. He is also writing to Treasury select committee chairman John McFall to explain why the business decision has been taken by the listed IFA.

He says if the select committee wanted to know the thinking behind BBB&#39s decision, then they should have approached the company itself rather than asking third parties who are not involved.

Two weeks ago when testifying before the committee, Aifa director general Paul Smee was also asked what he thought about the move but, other than pointing out that it was permitted under company law, he declined to comment despite being pushed by MPs.

The decision to wind up BBNFS has left Lockyer open to claims that he is dumping potential liabilities on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and therefore IFAs&#39 shoulders. He has always denied such suggestions.

Lockyer says: “Quite clearly, there have been people who have made judgements in public without having all the facts. Heads of life companies should not make statements in public without all the facts.”

Thomson&#39s group chief executive Douglas Gardner says the FSA is failing the industry at home and abroad by its retitence in regulating reversion and losing out on EU issues

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