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The captain&#39s Ilog

The IFA Life Offices Group (Ilog) of the ABI was formed in 1995 and has

proved itself a success in promoting the cause of IFAs.

The Pass review has been frequently acknowledged as one of the successful

Ilogventures. It has not only helped in the survival of many good IFA firms

but has also helped improve the image of the industry.

Its objective is to consider issues which primarily relate to the IFA

sector. It has a steering group of 14 members, consisting of chief

executives or senior directors of companies who deal mainly or partly in

the IFA marketplace.

I joined the steering group in 1996 and was asked to take over as chairman

in autumn 1997 from Philip Scott of Norwich Union. Pension “misselling” was

obviously high on our agenda at each meeting, and our main concern was to

try to ensure the continua-tion of a healthy IFA distribution channel.

We commissioned res-earch from Pricewaterhouse- Coopers, with the

preconceived notion that the major problem to be solved was one of helping

IFAs, particularly smaller firms, with recompense funding. The findings

indicated the numbers needing help were significant.

But more than that, it was discovered there was little point in designing

a scheme merely to help with the smaller IFA&#39s capital position as many

were having difficulty in knowing where to start with the pension review.

The extent of assistance had to include guidance on cases to review,

assistance with assessment and redress calculations and, finally, finance.

The research work up to that point had, as for some other projects, been

financed internally by the steering group to preserve confid- entiality but

the time had come to involve all offices which had sold pensions through

IFAs as this had to be an industry initiative.

We established the Pension Advisers Support System (Pass) and invited IFA

life offices to participate, not only in funding the running costs but also

in standing behind the £100m loan fund created. It is fair to say the vast

majority of offices willingly backed the initiative and, with the support

of the Treasury and the regulator, all offices finally came on board. In

addition to providing money, many of the Ilog offices seconded people to

assist Pass and it is considered to be one of the mostsuccessful Ilog


Although the pension review was always on our agenda, it was not the only

item that we discussed.

One issue which had been concerning Ilog for some time was that there was

no single strong trade body representing IFA firms and our dialogues had to

take place with IFA Association, the Large Intermediaries Group, the Large

Networks Association, as well as with individuals.

The Government and regulators faced the same problem. In 1998, our

informal discussions led us to the conclusion that the timing was right for

the creation of a single body and that Ilog, with the involvement of former

ABI director general Mark Boleat, could act as a catalyst.

However, the initiative had to be owned by IFAs themselves, and, after we

had brought together a steering group, Ilog withdrew, but committed to

provide the initial finance necessary to get the new body to the launchpad.

The creation of Aifa and the choice of Paul Smee asits director-general

has proved of great assistance to Ilog and demonstrated again our

commitment to the IFA sector going forward.

One of the strengths of the Ilog steering group is the willingness of its

members to become involved in the projects which arise from time to time.

Members of the group have played an active part in drafting the ABI

submission on polarisation, and in arranging the joint Ilog/Aifa Conference

last year.

There is an ongoing project in conjunction with Aifa looking at PI cover

for IFAs, and, of course, we are actively involved in looking at Saltr from

an IFA perspective.

IFAs should be afraid of Saltr. The aim of Saltr is to improve standards

within life offices, to make products more understandable to custom-ers and

to make it easier for people to deal with the industry. This must be in the

interests of IFAs.

I recently handed over the chairmanship of Ilog to David Henderson of

Aegon and I am confident that Ilog will continue to play a major role as a

forum for IFA discussions, and one which carries weight in the industry.


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