Following publication by the Financial Services Authority of a consultation paper "Making the Market work for Consumers", Sir George called in on Colin Stratton, Director of Page and Page and an Independent Financial Adviser to hear what the impact might be on businesses that sell investment products.
"At the moment, we have what is called polarisation. You can either buy your personal pensions, life assurance, unit trusts etc from an Independent Financial Adviser, who acts for you; or you buy from a representative, who is restricted to selling one company's product. There are benefits in the current system, in that you know roughly where you are. The FSA is consulting on abandoning polarisation, in the hope that the High Street Banks might then offer more than their own products."
"But there are concerns, which Colin Stratton explained to me, that this might drive the independent adviser out of business, and increase the monopoly power of the bigger players. That is why the Consumers' Association has expressed strong misgivings about the proposals."
"I will keep a close watch on this debate - I believe there is a role for professional and impartial advice in this area and hope it can be kept."