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NU in radical move to axe primary advice

Norwich Union is to propose a radical middle way in its final RDR submission which will call for the FSA to drop plans for primary advice.

NU says the FSA should instead consider telephone and web-assisted purchases which would allow NU to use its clout and brand presence to sell simple products. It says advisers also may be able to take advantage of this.

NU will also suggest that the exam bar for advisers is set at diploma or AFPC equivalent as a minimum rather than certified or chartered.

It says a move to chartered should be encouraged but not a regulatory requirement.

Intermediary and partnership director David Barral says rather than offering any regulatory dividend for planners, the FSA should require all advisers to be members of a professional body from which they could be struck off. He says this would professionalise the industry.

Barral also says NU is strongly wedded to the introduction of customer agreed remuneration but says that all advisers, including bank-based ones, should have to adopt it.

He says a move to CAR could see the FSA prepared to compromise on capital adequacy.

Norwest Consultants principal Harry Katz says he agrees that primary advice should be scrapped.

He says: “I am amazed and delighted that somebody like Norwich Union has actually had the confidence to say it. I think that is first class. Primary advice is not conducive to what I believe the FSA wants to achieve.”

Barral interview

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