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The simple truth about our roles in the industry

The financial services industry is a vital one and good advisers perform

an undervalued public service. If you had not noticed, it is under very

fierce attack by well meaning but mis guided authority. A one-eyed

orang-utan could see what is wrong – if he cared to look.

Only independent advisers can give true best advice all the time. We

cannot predict nor guarantee success but we can at least guide people

through the maze.

Remuneration should be mainly as at present, with a choice of fees or

standard ised level playing field commission open to all.

This should suit all genuine practitioners and proper self-regulation

would follow. The life companies, investment houses and IFAs providing bad

service and performance will be weeded out.

The PIA/FSA have all the powers they need to punish malpractice. They

should concentrate on this rather than their current fixation with trivial

wordings and petty admin procedures.

There should only be two sales channels for life and investment business,

IFAs and direct, and I mean the Virgin internet type, not company reps.

In return, all IFAs have to realise that we are a service industry and not

a sales industry. Enough people need advice to accommodate the current tied

agents as IFAs. Networks, who must scrap any panels they may have, provide

a valuable service for those who need support.

The LIA and Sofa should be banished to the wilderness for their

polarisation views.

Direct-sales channels will handle a growing amount of the easily executed

business. These companies make money at the push of a button or the receipt

of a tear-off slip. They can obviously charge less, even if they often


Advice is not sought or given and customers are responsible for their own

actions. They may appreciate the current low costs of advice when they have

had their fingers burnt.

There, simple, if you can see the wood for the trees – or should that be

decision trees?

Philip Bartholomew

Fife Independent Financial Advice,




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Case study: administration — managing group life schemes

Our client leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. The trustees of the company’s final salary pension scheme insure death-in-service lump sum and dependants’ pension death benefits for active employees, as well as dependants’ pension benefits for deferred members (those who have left service).


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