On behalf of Biba, I am very disappointed with the quality of this article and will restrict myself here to a few key comments:
1. The inference that intermediaries are unprofessional does the Biba membership and Insurance Times readership a huge disservice.
2. Brokers are working hard to ensure that their customers fully understand the benefits of dealing with a professional advisor and welcome the prospect of dealing with a more financially capable public.
3. The FSA’s Retail Distribution Review has looked exclusively at the investment market and specifically states that there are no ‘read-acrosses’ into the insurance market. We would be very concerned if the FSA tried to read across without the full involvement of the insurance sector.
4. The article writer is well aware of Biba’s position on greater transparency as we wrote to him after his previous article. Our position is clear – the current disclosure regime is as transparent as the customer wants it to be, as if he asks about commission earnings then he is told.
We do not believe that the regulator needs to mandate disclosure on every occasion. Let’s also remember that the commission transparency debate and the FSA’s forensic review only involve commercial customers.
We would be happy to talk directly to the article writer to put the record straight, again.
We take these matters very seriously.
Steve White, Biba