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Saltr shakers must ensure they cover all the industry

The insurance industry appears to think its problems are so entrenched it has had to bring two figures from outside to headits own accreditation project.

Sir Michael Bett, from the telecoms industry, and John Cox, from the chemical industry, are to become respectively chairman and chief executive of the Pensions, Protection and Investments Accreditation Board.

This will oversee the implementation of Saltr – the Savings and Long Term Risk initiative. What Saltr amounts to in simple language is the insurance industry putting its own house in order to lay to rest some of the ghosts of the pension review.

But IFAs have voiced concerns that the project will do more harm than good. They are much less able to shoulder the financial burden than bigger operations and they see some details, such as the two-month cooling-off period, as an over-reaction.

There is nothing wrong with Saltr in principle but we might ask why at least one appointment was not a respected figure who knows the insurance industry already.

Nevertheless we wish the two gentlemen well in what is a difficult challenge. But two pieces of advice.

The first is if the project is associated with only one part of the insurance industry, to pick an example at random, tied life offices, it is doomed to fail.

The second is that simply declaring the whole industry backs the project is not enough, when half the life offices – at least in private – and many IFAs are expressing profound doubts.

Saltr can succeed but only if it wins the confidence of all the industry.


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