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Out of tune

I am stunned at the revelation of Ron Sandler&#39s view that IFA clients are only satisfied because they think that advice is free when it is really an opaque loan paid for through commission.

This is, however, not entirely unfamiliar territory, given that the Treasury and the regulator quite frequently sing from an entirely different hymn sheet.

The classic example of recent times, of course, is the PIA&#39s insistence that waiver of premium had to be a mandatory recommendation on all pensions until good old Jeff – oops, sorry, Lord Rooker – and his cronies decided to scrap it with a single stroke of the axe at midnight on April 5 this year.

Good one, Jeff, a brilliant coup that must surely have been a contributory factor to your richly deserved peerage.

Currently, we have the Treasury claiming that all members of the public need to make most strategic financial planning decisions for themselves are online access to information, more education and, best of all, decision trees.

Yet the view of Ron Sandler (who, apparently, only works on this particular brief one day a week) seems to be that most members of the public are so dense, naive or obtuse that they believe, unless they have been asked to pay a fee, that their IFA is remunerated by some form of mystical manna from the heavens. And all this in spite of, how many is it, seven or eight years of hard commission disclosure already behind us.

From where could clients possibly believe such commission is paid other than out of their premiums or investment monies? There is nowhere else, is there?

And what is wrong with (potentially reclaimable) indemnity commission, given the amount of work IFAs have to do up front to meet the regulator&#39s compliance requirements for every transaction?

Just what are we paying these people for? Certainly not for their understanding of and insight into the way that our industry works,that&#39s for sure.

Julian Stevens

Partner,WDS Independent Financial Advisers,Kingswood, Bristol

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