FSA chairman Callum McCarthy has voiced personal concerns about Government plans to sell equity investments without advice in the planned stakeholder suite of products.
McCarthy says he does not believe the products, proposed by Ron Sandler, are suited to forms of selling that exclude advice, particularly the use of structured questions.
Some industry figures believe McCarthy's reservations could flag a change in official FSA policy.
McCarthy has openly questioned whether equity-based stakeholder products could be sold fairly without advice, a proposition that the Treasury is committed to as a method of providing consumers with basic price-capped products.
Sofa managing director Brian Lawless says although former chairman Sir Howard Davies may have felt the same way about stakeholder, he thinks it is good that McCarthy has “stood up to be counted”.
Lawless says: “You need to remember that the FSA has not created these products. The Treasury created them and then told the FSA to come up with a sales model. This was a stitch-up that I believe the FSA has never been happy with.
“Deep down, it does not agree with it and McCarthy has finally come out and said what many there had always thought.”
McCarthy says: “What is being tested at the moment is something which is not advised, which is basically an algorithm for people to work their way through.”
FSA spokeswoman Louise Buckley says: “Equity products in stakeholder belong to the Government, not to us, so Callum was simply voicing his own personal opinions on these products, not voicing policy.”