The Pensions Protection Inv-estments Accreditation Board says it is considering introducing a lower charging bracket for Saltr accreditation in a bid to ensure that smaller brands chase the quality mark.
The PPIAB, the independent body responsible for awarding life offices the Raising Standards quality mark, says it is considering lowering the bar on charges to encourage smaller life offices, particularly friendly societies, to think seriously about joining the initiative.
Some smaller life offices have cited the initial fee plus a percentahge of turnover for seeking accreditation among factors which act as a barrier to applying for the Saltr mark while IFAs are concerned these costs might act to discriminate against smaller brands.
Around five bigger brands, including Scottish Equitable and CIS, are currently seeking accreditation. The PPIAB has confirmed that the first brands which have successfully made the grade will be unveiled on October 16.
Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society chief executive David White says: “The initial fees are one part of a whole package of operating costs which we are not convinced will deliver the inc-rease in public confidence that many are hoping for.
“Twefs already does much of what Raising Standards is looking to achieve and has had a constructive dialogue with Saltr.”
Klonowski & Co proprietor Francis Klonowski says: “There has to be a way of including and comparing different products from smaller brands as small players often offer good products for specific purposes.”
PPIAB chief executive John Cox says: “We might consider a smaller category with smaller costs for brands, including friendly societies, but we don't want larger brands subsidising smaller brands. Many brands see the costs associated with gaining accreditation as more of an investment in infrastructure, management processes and product design.”