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The Sandler review presents IFAs with challenges which, frankly, have been ducked for years.

Widening access towards financial advice and whether customers understand what they are buying are the key elements IFAs need to address in Sandler. How do they do that?

An effective campaign needs to be orchestrated towards not just Sandler but also the FSA, the Inland Revenue and their Treasury masters. What should it include?

It needs to address the issue at the heart of Sandler&#39s attitude towards the IFA sector – that IFAs are subject to their own commercial incentives – and trounce it with a clearly positioned poll/research which demonstrates why the mighty consumer still uses independent advice wherever he or she can access it.

Only on this Government&#39s agenda – access, consumerism and social enfranchisement – can IFAs hope to reverse the arguments against them. The fact is that those who need independent advice are least able to afford or access it.

Sandler also muddies the waters on polarisation in the inquiry. IFAs need to ensure they – or their representatives – are talking as much to the FSA as to the inquiry&#39s secretariat. It is no coincidence that the Treasury is seeking to create linkage here.

Someone recently wrote: “Consumers lack the time for, or expertise in, investment and savings and there is limited shopping around.” Who said that? Sandler in his initial report. Should this not be the core of any campaign?


ScotEq adds corporate bond option

Scottish Equitable is introducing a corporate bond option as part of its Performance bond investment fund range. The option is aimed at cautious investors looking for better returns than available from deposit accounts. The extra-income corporate bond fund will sit alongside ScotEq&#39s existing fixed-interest funds which invest in a range of foreign government securities and […]

Haven can wait

A few years ago, unitised with-profits accounted for around half of all money invested into pensions. A standard mix would be 50 per cent managed fund and 50 per cent UWP, with little or no chance of switching in the future. Now, we all talk of external fund links. This has focused product developers on […]

Equitable ads misleading

I am impelled to write to express my concern that commentary on “Inequitable Life” has missed an important fact – Equitable&#39s advertising was highly dubious. 1: Equitable heavily promoted the fact that they paid no commission to middlemen. This was misleading as Equitable have a salesforce and their high salary levels were dependant upon bonuses. […]

Eagle Star flies with-profits flag

EAGLE STAR WITH-PROFITS BOND Type: With-profits bond. Aim: Income and growth by investing in unitised with-profits and up to 12 unit-linked funds. Minimum investment: £5,000. Bonus rate: 5.25 per cent. Allocation rates: Option one – £5,000-£19,999 – 95 per cent, £20,000-£29,999 95.25 per cent, £30,000-£49,999 – 95.5 per cent, £50,000 and above 96 per cent. […]

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What price (more) freedoms?

George Osborne will make his last Budget speech of the current parliamentary term this week, and the early media briefings suggest that pensions will again feature heavily in that statement. So what are we able to learn from the weekend’s coverage?


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