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Whole of market is not a pretence

Regarding the letter from Peter Amott, of course, Ken Davy is right to say best advice is independent. How can it possibly be as good when you have a restricted list to choose from?

Mr Amott says: “The pretence that all IFAs research the whole of the marketplace also has to stop.” I do not think this is a pretence. There are some of us who genuinely do research the whole market. Just as some doctors will not give the right treatment, it does not mean that everybody fails to act appropriately.

In this connection, people such as Cofunds are an absolute godsend because one can use any fund that is available, switching is cheap and it is also much simpler to do tax returns and so on.

It is wrong for Mr Amott to say there are no perpetually well managed insurance funds. What about the Axa distribution fund with a large slug of index-linked gilts in it?

When arranging bonds (they tend to be offshore these days), there are still very good reasons for them, particularly on the income side and I have an unwritten rule that I take exactly the same commission on bonds as I do on investment funds.

That means that I never have any bias and frequently things are set up on less than normal commission anyway, sometimes nil, for example, when using offshore bonds with cash funds.

I do not think that with-profits funds were bad 30 years ago. Many were very successful and some that have matured recently have done quite extraordinarily well. In one case, Phoenix of all people, which was expected to produce £30,000, actually came in at £65,000.

What is of more concern is that some doctors are now charging between £100 and £245 to produce reports on things like insurance policies (not my own doctor, who is exemplary) and in some cases these are people who are disadvantaged and trying to get state benefits.

I believe all advisers should do some pro bono work such as in the Citizens Advice Bureaux, as many lawyers do in the US. This gives you an insight into people who are disadvantaged and gets away from part of the greed culture, which unfortunately is a big problem in the US and UK.

BGW Jamieson
Principal,
Jamieson Financial Management, Bognor Regis, West Sussex

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