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Money Box launches commission probe

The BBC is conducting an investigation into IFA commission for a Radio Four special programme to air in May.

The Money Box prog-ramme, entitled The Sins of Commission, looks into whe-ther commission contributed to misselling and whether it has undermined consumer trust in advisers.

Money Box presenter Paul Lewis will be examining the case for and against reform of the commission system in the programme on May 17.

Programme makers are interviewing consumer groups, IFAs, brokers, providers, members of the Treasury select committee, the financial services consumer panel and the ABI about commission. They say the ABI’s consultation paper on commission is one of the main reasons for the timing of the programme.

Producer Jennifer Clarke says: “We are not taking a position on commission, saying it is right or wrong, but will be representing opinions from across the board. The title is intended to engage a general audience but we will be examining the criticisms made against commission in a balanced and fair way.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “Commission in other areas such as gas and electricity switching has led to misselling recently and it is obviously a topic that consumers will be concerned about. Why are so many single-premium investment bonds sold and not unit trusts? Because they pay double the commission.

“But this is changing, with many IFAs adopting service-led or fee-based business models, and it will be interesting to see if the programme reflects the revolutionary changes that are going on. Not all IFAs who take commission are corrupt.”

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