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Sour note from Sandler

Northern Rock boss Ron Sandler’s speech at the CII president’s dinner last week angered many advisers in the audience.

In the midst of a devastating economic crisis, Sandler spent much of the speech defending the banking institutions which were the root cause of it. But it was the way he jumped from this to an attack on the business model of advisers that hit such a sour note.

The troubling thing about Sandler’s view is, despite all the well publicised failings of his banking friends in recent times, it still represents the opinion of many in the banking sector. More worryingly, it also probably represents the views of many in the Treasury.

Hopefully, one of the good things to come out of the economic crisis is a greater realisation at all levels of the huge gulf between the bad advice often given by bank advisers and quality, customer-focused inde- pendent financial advice.

Following on from this must be a crackdown on the sales practices of bank advisers who have been promoting and marketing themselves as providing a service on a par with IFAs.

Money advice failings have been exposed in the last year. Time and again, it is IFAs who have had to pick up the pieces after clients have suffered bad advice from big banks.

The language emanating from the FSA, in both Lord Turner’s banking regulation report and the speeches of chief executive Hector Sants, is encouraging. Last April’s interim RDR report proposed a clear dividing line between sales and advice. This was watered down in November’s paper after heavy lobbying from the banks but it must be hoped the FSA’s new tougher line against the banks will influence the next consultation paper due in June.


Standards body needed to stop exam arbitrage

Until the FSA develops an independent professional standards board, there is a danger of “qualification arbitrage” emerging, according to the Chartered Insurance Institute.Speaking at the CII presidents dinner last week, president Trevor Matthews told guests there is an urgent need for a standards’ watchdog acting on behalf of consumers.He said: “It is important to be […]

Henderson move for New Star’s Gledhill

New Star’s head of fixed income James Gledhill will be joining Henderson following the completion of the merger. Gledhill currently manages the New Star fixed income, high- yield bond and extra-high- yield bond funds. He will report to Henderson bond manager John Pattullo.

Congestion charging

The FSA’s position on adviser charging is clear. It wants to see commission banned in its current form by the end of 2012. Dan Waters’ speech on January 16 at the Association of British Insurers’ conference is particularly illuminating.


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