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Will the FSA take heed of Sandler?

So, Sandler, the consumer&#39s friend, is triumphant, hailed by ministers while shame-faced Pickering, scourge of widows, trails in his wake disowned and unloved.

A little dramatic but, in the intensely political world that financial services reviewers must operate, probably fair.

Pickering&#39s suggestions that companies be let off paying out to widows and that LPI is scrapped going forward erode the value of defined-benefit schemes.

Its detachment from the Inland Revenue tax review has hamstrung its case though the overall direction makes sense for trustees. The move towards three pensions is welcome although if some very useful top-end pension solutions are sacrificed, it will be a shame.

But the major failing is not injecting more advice into pensions. If his reforms are accepted, retirement saving will require more advice, not less, for several years. In the meantime, whatever political adviser told Pickering he should launch his report two days after Sandler and did not veto hurting widows&#39 finances should not work in this town again.

As for Sandler, we will deal with why his price-capped unadvised products are ill-advised later. Of immediate concern are his thoughts on how IFAs should be paid.

Sandler has come up with a workable version of defined payment – cynics might say it is the version FSA would have designed if CP121 was not a rush job. It holds out hope for more of an independent sector although it would also present some IFAs who had mentally accepted authorised status with a massive dilemma.

The question now is will the FSA pay Sandler any heed and if it ignores him will Gordon Brown make it pay attention?


Product matters

AMP NPI&#39s new range of single-charge individual and bulk S32 and S32A contracts alongside single-charge Cimps and group AVCs is a significant move to dominate the transfer and pension restructure market. The range can accommodate guaranteed minimum pensions and protected rights – a major advantage compared with some ranges.I also like its approach to breaking […]

Gartmore mixes government bonds and corporates

Gartmore has added the Gartmore Sicav European bond fund to its offshore fund range.The fund invests in government bonds as well as investment-grade corporate bonds. It aims for capital growth over the long-term and is expected to have around 52 holdings including Spanish, German and Swedish government bonds, plus corporate bonds from Tesco, hotel group […]

Field of dreams

Do you agree with the Sandler recommendations to level the pensions playing field by changing the tax regime for non-life companies?Ritchie: Conceptually, I support a level playing field in this and other areas. However, the IPA has always added more, and, in my view, unnecessary, complexity to the pension field. Both Pickering and Sandler are […]

Customer neglect

I read with interest D Budge&#39s open letter to Legal & General last week. He has hit the nail on the head although sadly the situation is by no means confined to Legal & General.Most of the large insurers are only too happy to put vast resources into new business generation but neglect the customers […]

Developing your personal relationships – Webex

Read more 9amFinancial advisers and solicitors working together Presented by Ian Muirhead, director & chairman at Solicitors for Impartial Advice (SIFA) Listen to Ian’s expert insight and experiences of how financial advisers and solicitors can work together to deliver mutual benefit and enhanced client outcomes. Register here 10am Financial advisers and accountants working together Presented […]


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