The new year started with the industry still reeling from the closure of Equitable Life to new business. In January, the FSA came under pressure to explain why it granted Equitable Life approval for stakeholder pensions just a month before it closed to new business.
The news cast a new shadow over confidence in the FSA to meet its key regulatory remit of protecting consumers.
In February. Paula Diggle, who won friends among readers when she called upon IFAs to offer free financial advice, departed from the Treasury. Diggle, the Treasury civil servant credited with turning IFAs' lives upside down, quit to become head of home financial services for the Inland Revenue.
They told us that whatever happens it was not the end of the man from the Pru (they also told us repeatedly that the ScotAm brand would stay), but in February it was the end of the road for the Man as 2,000 Pru staff were axed, including 1,400 advisers In March, the “son of Myners” was born. The Chancellor announced in the Budget that the Treasury had accepted the recommendations of the Myners' report and would carry out a separate independent review on personal investment products looking at commission levels, with-profits, unit trusts and investment trusts and the investment skill base of advisers. Myners suggested that IFA recommendations might be slanted by higher offers of commission from life offices. It said lesser-known life offices could increase sales by improving commission terms.
In April. the feud between Jupiter and New Star escalated. Edward Bonham-Carter clashed with New Star's John Duffield, threatening to take him back to the courts.
In June, Australian financial giant AMP bought IFA Towry Law for £75.7m, confirming a story first broken by MM two months earlier, but provoking a row over an Investors' Compensation Scheme bailout worth more than £30m. Oh yes, and there was the small matter of a general election.