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No place for secrecy

A refusal by a UK insurance company to release figures to the public at large on the performance of endowment policies should not be taken lightly.

Any insurer doing so is putting up its hands and claiming membership of a club that doesn&#39t believe in transparency but in secrecy instead.

The insurer or insurers concerned may plead that any issues affecting such policies are a matter for communication with customers.

Why should journalists be privy to such information? It is not their divine right to have access to such information and by using descriptions such as slashing and axing, don&#39t they risk panicking consumers? Money Marketing and, we hope, the vast majority of IFAs would see it differently. They think being transparent is a great virtue, however bad some reporting may be. It not only allows customers who may be invested or insured with a life office to make fully informed decisions but it also allows potential future customers to make decisions about whether to invest. Information surrounding bonus cuts is something that the public at large should have access to. There isn&#39t going to be a lot of good news while this bear market continues but some companies have been exemplary in their communications about what is happening.

The alternative – a world where information is not disclosed – is something that should have been left behind a decade ago at least. Regardless of whatever fancy cross-industry schemes exist for new customers – and there is merit in what Raising Standards is doing, the whole insurance industry must be prepared to be open about products sold in the past or it will never restore its reputation.


Turning to technology

IFAs are increasingly coming to realise the benefits of technology. Technology that makes tasks like policy valuations and report-writing possible at the touch of a button are becoming invaluable.Allowing IFAs to access services quickly and easily has become the industry&#39s goal and straight-through processing of business is considered the ultimate aim, although this still has […]

A consumer&#39s view

With only three weeks left before the end of the consultation period on the Pension Green Paper on April 11, it is time for consumers to make their voices heard. There are many points which require a rethink.First, the proposal for a lifetime limit on the size of an individual&#39s pension fund of £1.4m should […]

Liverpool Victoria goes live with online processing for IFAs

Liverpool Victoria has today launched its online processing service for IFAs interested in its protection products. IFAs will be able submit applications as well as get quotations online. The friendly society says this will be followed by a direct debit system. Straight forward applications will not require an signature. IFAs who use the service will […]

More Than – Guaranteed Growth Bond Issue 6

Friday, 14 March 2003 Type: Guaranteed growth bond Minimum-maximum investment: £5,000-£250,000 Term: Six years Interest rate: £5,000 – £10,000 5% gross a year, £10,001 and above 6% gross a year Charges: None Return: 5% or 6% gross a year on half of the amount invested at the end of year one, plus 50% of the […]

Bonds going bust? Not so fast….

In recent months bond bears have been reinvigorated, and market commentary suggesting “the end of the bond (bull) market is near” has become commonplace. We think these comments are premature. Explaining the global government bond sell-off October has seen renewed pressure on global government bonds, initially provoked by a Bloomberg article suggesting that the ECB […]


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