I read with interest Kevin Carr’s defence of the No Advice, No Protection campaign in last week’s Money Marketing.
Mr Carr makes some accurate points about the technical benefits that advisers can make. The suggestion however, that all non-advice sales of protection policies are made unfairly is quite simply not true. In order to meet compliance requirements, ads and websites need to be accurate and balanced and the individual piece needs to be a fair representation of the product. If not, there is recourse to the Ombudsman, who will find against firms with misleading ads.
Mr Carr’s view that all the other options available should be mentioned misses the point about direct distribution completely. Customers in the direct market do not go to advisers because they don’t want to and some cover, whether in trust or not, must be better than none at all, which would be the case without direct distribution.
The core argument often used in favour of advice is saying that only those who have been advised can seek redress from the Ombudsman if it all goes wrong. This seems like a pessimistic point of difference, does nothing to inspire confidence in IFAs and is the least convincing platform on which to discuss the virtues of advice.
Head of public relations
Virgin Money, Norwich