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Tories claim IFAs are being scared off Asps

Conservative conference: Paul McMillan reports from Bournemouth

The Tories say that Government threats of a U-turn on alternatively secured pensions are a ploy to bully IFAs into not selling the products and save Labour from having to scrap Asps.

Speaking at a British Ban-kers’ Association and Cicero Consulting fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Bournemouth on Monday, Shadow Treasury Financial Secretary Mark Hoban said the Government had made “a huge mistake” over the issue.

He said the Government had two years to think through the policy and knew from the outset that advisers would look to take advantage of A-Day legislation to benefit their client through offering an Asp.

Hoban said Labour also knew it could not introduce a test act to say that you had to be a member of the Plymouth Brethren to access an Asp because of discrimination legislation so it should have easily foreseen the situation.

The MP for Fareham said he would be raising questions with Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls when Parliament starts next week to get some more clarity for advisers and the industry on the subject.

Hoban said this issue, along with last year’s residential property Sipp U-turn, had added to the unpredictability of the tax system, threatening stability and potentially acting as a barrier to UK competitiveness.

He said the Tories supported the introduction of Asps and will continue to support them although the party wants to go further and scrap the obligation to buy an ann-uity at age 75 completely.

Hoban said: “To threaten a U-turn now is a bit of a ploy because they are hoping that IFAs will not sell these products so they will not reach the position where they have to make a decision about scrapping Asps.”

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