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Sandler and Myners have got it wrong

Ron Sandler has been beating up on IFAs and product providers again, abetted by former fund management boss Paul Myners.

In evidence to the Treasury select comm-ittee, Myners suggested commission sales should carry a health warning while Sandler warned of misselling if the current state of affairs continues. Sandler has also attacked providers&#39 obsession with the 1 per cent price cap and FSA attempts to over-regulate his products.

Both are wrong. Myners&#39 suggestion could undermine many advisers who continue to urge clients to save but isn&#39t the menu intended to address this issue?

Sandler has already proved he does not understand the retail market. His report recommended questionable products when there were often better alternatives already. His belief that tax incentives do not help savings is regarded as ludicrous by anyone involved in promoting Isas and pensions.

As for grim warnings about commission bias, exactly what functioning system of distribution could replace it? Does he believe multi-ties will improve the situation.

Finally, Sandler&#39s light-touch regime would probably turn the ombudsman services into a de facto regulator.

This must sound like ivory tower stuff to IFAs in the real world grappling with the impact of stockmarket losses for clients and worried about the future of Standard Life.

Yet both men continue to be influential despite failing to offer a viable alternative. Worse still, Sandler&#39s products have created an impasse on savings, with providers and arguably the FSA in one camp and the Treasury in the other.

Their remarks poison the argument and delay the day when the Government realises it has to compromise with retail businesses so some progress can be made in getting people saving again. It would be better if both men kept quiet about a market they do not understand.

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