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Standard board failed pension test

Standard Life claims that its need to demutualise is the result of its management having responded too slowly to the demands of new solvency regulations.

That may be part of the reason but I do not believe it to be the most significant part.

The main reason is that it has tried and failed disastrously to market personal pensions with money-losing charging structures just to conform to the whims of a bunch of Government ministers with no understanding of commerce (like most of the Labour Party, it seems).

Even compulsion is unlikely to save the situation at this stage in the game. Compulsory stakeholder schemes? The very idea makes one shudder.

Had Standard Life’s management had any backbone, they would have stood fast and declared that they were having nothing to do with stakeholder.

What would the FSA have done – shut them down?I do not quite think so.

Any fool with half an ounce of commercial nous should have seen that stakeholder is a synonym for suicide.

What has happened is that by screwing its once supporting IFAs, Standard Life has screwed itself.

Ultimately, of course, its customers will get screwed as well. But none of this is anything to do with the FSA. Hey, they’re the good guys.

Julian StevensWDS, Bristol

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