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Tied sector faces equivalence

Banks and tied agents will have to disclose commission equivalence, according to the FSA&#39s menu proposals which were released last week.

The move comes despite heavy lobbying by the tied sector, which was broadly reluctant to have to reveal how much it pays advisers.

The FSA has identified five types of advisers and is determined to make the tied sector disclose commission equivalence, which includes any payment they receive from product providers.

Product providers&#39 representatives, including the bancassurance sector, will have to disclose commission equivalence.

However, a company which is owned to at least 50 per cent by a provider, or a firm with the same owner as a product provider must disclose the greater of commission equi- valence or commission.

The other three types of more loosely tied agents will only have to disclose commission rather than commission equivalence.

These groups include adviser firms that are not whole of market but which are less than 50 per cent owned by a product provider.

Scottish Widows intermediary and partnership director Robert Wyllie says that after four-and-a-half years of talking about depolarisation it was important for tied and multi-tied agents to have a base to move on from.

He says since the new proposals, the sector needs to move beyond the bancassurance versus IFA debate in terms of pricing and decide how the different channels will operate.

Wyllie says: “We will be working on the premise that tied will move forward with commission equivalence. The stake is now in the ground and it is time to use the menu as a way to sell the quality of advice process no matter where it sits in the framework.”

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “Clearly, when there is a greater choice between different parts of the market, we feel strongly there should be transparency across the whole of the market.”

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