The financial services industry is preparing for a clash of the titans as high profile heavyweights don their gloves to fight their respective corners on polarisation.
The battle-lines are being drawn in the wake of the FSA consultation paper which has presented the industry with five scenarios for polarisation ranging from maintaining the current system of polarisation to introducing multi-ties.
The four main bodies representing IFAs and independent advice, Aifa, Sofa, LIA and IFA Promotion, have all firmly nailed their colours to the status quo mast. They say change will only serve to confuse consumers.
Flying the flag for the introduction of multi-ties is OFT director-general John Bridgeman and Allied Dunbar chief executive Keith Baldwin and the British Bankers Association.
Bridgeman's report last August suggested polarisation in its current form is anti-competitive and Baldwin
It is believed many fund managers backed by banks and building societies want the system amended to allow unit trusts as do several composite insurers.
Treasury head of financial services Paula Diggle is also on the record as saying that the inflexibility of tied advisers could frustrate Government plans to make stakeholder pensions as flexible as possible.
The deadline for the consultation is the end of March.