A wider selection of financial products should be available through high street outlets, as well as from independent financial advisors, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has said.

The FSA has proposed new rules that lift polarisation regulations preventing tied advisers from recommending products from other companies.

The new rules would only apply to stakeholder pensions, CAT standard ISAs and direct offer financial promotions.

A consultation on the rules was launched today as the first step of a programme announced by the FSA in November 2000.

The programme followed a 1999 report from the Director General of Fair Trading, which found that the polarisation regime restricted, distorted and prevented competition by preventing innovation in retail markets.

FSA investment business head David Severn said: “This is the first stage of our consultation on securing a better deal for consumers.”

The second step will be a consultation on options for more radical, longer term changes.