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With the greatest of sleaze

May I congratulate and thank Aifa director general Chris Cummings for his defence of IFAs generally.

What many people find amazing is how the FSA manages to generate so much activity designed to make life as difficult as possible for advisers all under the guise of customer care and protection.

We have a quango which is a spin-off and controlled by Gordon Brown’s Treasury and over-influenced by Which? (usually read by weak-willed and indecisive types) and the Consumers’ Association who would have us all working for nothing if they had their way.

What is amazing is that here we have a Government-influenced regulator working in a Stalinist manner to the financial services industry (which earns more for this country than any other organisation) and at the same time it seems bent on destroying the IFA sector which means independent advice in favour of the tied and banking sectors quite obviously in order to have easier control of less imaginative organisations.

The question is, does the FSA have credibility? In most people’s eyes, including the public, they are seen as expensive, ill-informed and another government self-promoting bureaucracy.

Let us consider while we are being lost in a mountain of useless paperwork and rules that ministers of this government who back it all fall under the following as examples to the rest of us. Remember these from the Little Red Book of Labour Sleaze?

Peter Mandelson’s mortgages.
Ron Davies’s “moment of madness”.
David Blunkett and Nannygate.
Bernie Ecclestone’s donation loans for lordships.
Lord Irvine’s wallpaper.
Margaret Beckett’s Air Miles.
Tessa Jowell’s mortgages

Brown’s ramming through relief for the film industry at a cost to the taxpayer of 540m a year to benefit his mate Wilf Stevenson – a long-term director of the British Film Institute.

If the top people of all the big financial institutions got together to debate the good rules from the ridiculous, perhaps they might turn in strength and say to the FSA: “We are not playing your silly, expensive games any more so go away.”

Perhaps the FSA might consider the people it employs as many staff I have come across are “refugees” from the field who could not handle it or hack it, a bit like people who give up smoking – there are none so righteous in the presence of smokers which takes me back to the Tony Sleaze Machine.

Cliff Linsdell
Newton Abbot


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