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Online trees offer corporate audits

Scottish Life is launching an online stakeholder decision tree designed to generate an audit trail automatically for advice given to corporate clients.

It says the complicated nature of paper-based trees and the regulatory issues surrounding the use of decision trees have created serious problems for IFAs trying to advise clients within a 1 per cent charging cap.

The online tree produces a printed or electronic copy for the client, showing the path taken and the date and time of production records. The facility also produces a secure record of the precise route taken as well as allowing the IFA to make any additional notes.

The tree follows the paths and text as laid out in the FSA decision tree and contains a screen guide to the current position on the decision tree.

Under new regulations, those taking out a stakeholder pension by means of a category C direct-offer advertisement must first have been sent a decision tree.

Head of pension strategy Steve Bee says: “The official trees were not meant to be used to give advice, but in some circumstances it is necessary they are used as part of the distribution process. This in itself places even more onus on IFAs to maintain accurate and credible records. We hope to have made many IFAs&#39 lives that little bit more stress-free.”

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