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Set out the goal to put vision into clear focus

Traditionally, the industry has been able to relax during election campaigns as politicians scrap for votes.

Financial services rarely features in party political broadcasts. It is not a vote winner or a vote loser. With the civil service in purdah, nothing else will be Catmarked for a while.

Nothing will be disclosed that is not already being disclosed and no more accusations will be levelled at commissionhungry IFAs, for a few weeks at least.

Yet financial issues will feature. We have been treated to Labour&#39s baby bond and, with neat generational symmetry, the Conservatives&#39 granny bond.

Both are good ideas in themselves and could be good ideas for the industry in the right context. But context is the problem. There is no vision but a collection of piecemeal reforms, some based on decades-old prejudices, some a firefighting reaction to scandals real and perceived, some vote-chasing, some another stage in dismantling the welfare state.

Ideally, the Government and FSA would set the structure and the industry would provide the vision, with adequate consideration for the need to make a profit as well as serve consumers.

But with the Government intent on controlling almost everything sold and everyone who sells, this may not be the solution. The latest example is the half-thought-out suggestion to Catmark advice.

This current process with umpteen reviews and consultations is a sorry mess. The next Government, whatever its hue, must decide on its destination before it embarks on any more reforms.


Apcims calling for retirement Isa and annuity reforms

The next Government should introduce a specific “retirement Isa” and reform annuities, says the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers. Apcims&#39 pre-election briefing suggests a simplification of the Isa rules. It also wants the annual Isa limit to be raised to £10,000 and an additional Isa which would have an investment limit of […]

Standard Life asking for retrospective ID checks

Standard Life is asking IFAs to identify term insurance clients going back to 1994 because it did not realise it was included in recently adopted FSA moneylaundering rules. New powers adopted by the FSA from previous regulators means an identification certificate is required for all term cases written from April 1994. Standard is mailing IFAs […]

Grand float for Friends aims to bring in £1.4bn

Friends Provident is planning a £4.2bn flotation on the stockmarket in July, giving qualifying members share windfalls potentially worth £1,000. The float is expected to raise around £1.4bn of capital, giving the life office a market value of £3.7bn to £4.2bn. All 1.7 million members will qualify for a single fixed allocation of 200 shares […]

ABI publishes income protection best practice statement

The ABI is publishing a revised statement of best practice for income protection insurance to deal with the concerns of the Office of Fair Trading. The statement also includes an ABI Saltr raising standards initiative compliant key features document for income protection.


Five ways to make your employee focus group session a success

by Debra Corey, group reward director  You just planned and booked what you thought was the perfect vacation for you and your family. You call everyone together to share the great news and instead of receiving sounds of glee and delight, you receive groans and complaints.Your youngest says: “I hate beaches, didn’t you know that?” (You think to […]


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