The end is in sight for the darkest chapter in the history of UK's financial services but the price tag has jumped from£11bn to £13.5bn.
The increase for phase two pension review cases comes partly as a result of people living longer, changing stockmarket conditions and because more information is being unearthed.
But the figures point to the same conclusion – that misselling is over whelmingly a direct-sales problem. IFAs must shoulder their share of the blame but they are simply not in the same league with under 13 per cent of phase two cases.
Small IFAs, in particular, are holding their own, required to offer redress in under 40 per cent of their cases investigated to date while providers and bigger IFAs are offering redress in more than 80 per cent. Small IFAs lag providers in per centage of cases completed, but only just, with 30 per cent to providers' 34.2 per cent and bigger IFAs' 43.3 per cent.
Nevertheless, IFAs' perceived “tardiness” has led the Treasury to gun for an end to polarisation. We believe the Government prefers multi-ties controlled by providers in the mistaken belief they can offer faster redress.
This line of thinking also involves a dramatic underestimate of how well equipped the regulator is to stop misselling in the first place.
But whatever erroneous conclusions have been drawn and despite the fact that regulatory and Government failings compounded the delays, IFAs must pull out all the stops to finish the review and start to win back consumer confidence.