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‘Menu means independent advice can only be offered face to face’

Origen chief executive Gareth Marr is warning that the new payment menu system means that independent advice can only be offered face to face rather than over the phone or electronically.

Marr told delegates that firms which do not offer a face- to-face service will struggle to remain independent. He said the prescriptive wording at the start of the menu is such an obstacle to client retention that only clients in a face-to-face situation will accept it.

He said Origen is yet to fin-alise its proposition but will focus on segmentation of customers. This means its call centre and electronic platform will continue to be used but if a customer requires independent advice, they will be directed to a face-to-face consultant.

Other customers could then be dealt with through a tied or whole of market service using other methods of communication although this is yet to be finalised.

Marr said: “Call centres or electronic platforms can be a conduit to independent advice but face to face will be the only way of ensuring your message is put across to the client.”

FSA spokeswoman Vanessa Wood says: “The most important thing is that customers understand the choice they have. We are not prescriptive in the way advice is offered.”

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