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Polarisation debate must be brought out into the open

The claim by the Treasury and FSA to represent consumers will be exposed as a complete sham if they take a decision about polarisation behind closed doors.

Any change is of fundamental public concern but Money Marketing believes there is a grave danger the decision will be taken behind closed doors at Canary Wharf and in Whitehall.

What is already in the public domain is pretty much worthless. The London Economics&#39 report was poorly constructed, bizarrely failed to look at the current set-up and helped only to fuel confusion.

It is understood the FSA, behind closed doors, is trying to determine the damage any radical changes to polarisation would do to the independent sector. About time too. But this research must be made public and time allowed for a full debate.

It is also unclear just who is responsible for the ultimate decision. It is certainly not one for a civil servant but for someone democratically accountable.

Finally and perhaps most dangerously of all, the powers that be may be about to replace the consumer-friendly polarisation system with one that is more easily regulated but risks more misselling and virtually guarantees misbuying.

In a week when the Ombudsman says the vast majority of endowment misselling was by the direct channel, can the FSA really be countenancing giving the tied sector the massive boost it would receive by multi-ties or multi-product ties?

Money Marketing is launching a campaign for a full public debate before changes are made which could do untold damage to the industry and consumers.

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