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Watchdog slams City Financial over status

The Consumers&#39 Association has slammed Lincoln tied salesforce City Financial Partners, claiming it does not make its tied status clear when dealing with customers.

Following an undercover investigation by Which? magazine, the association alleges City Financial is guilty of “shoddy sales practices”, including not making clear its relationship with Lincoln.

The watchdog is increasingly concerned that this type of practice could increase if the current rules on polarisation are abandoned by the FSA and the Treasury. IFAs have also claimed this type of misrepresentation will increase if polarisation is scrapped.

They say if direct salesforces are not clear now about whether they are tied or independent, introducing a third or even fourth option will confuse the consumer even more.

Principal researcher Teresa Fritz says: “City Financial did not make its tie clear and consumers are confused about what the difference might be.”

IFA Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose says: “If people are willing to break the original polarisation rules and not make clear they are a tied agent, unquestionably there would be more of this type of practice occurring if the rules are changed.”

Lincoln Assurance public relations manager Ian Crowder says: “We are looking into the claims that it did not make its ties clear. It should make its status clear. What the implications are for the long- term debate on polarisation is difficult to say.”

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