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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?

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