ABI demands regulatory clarity on advice and non-advice

The Association of British Insurers has asked the FCA for urgent clarity on the boundary between advice and non-advice.

In a speech at the JP Morgan European Insurance Conference yesterday, ABI director general Huw Evans said many firms would like to offer customers help that goes beyond the Government’s Pension Wise guidance service.

He said: “But for innovation in the market to happen, we need the FCA to re-examine whether the current distinction between full advice and provision of information offers the optimal solution for customers.

“We don’t accept this is a medium-term issue, it is a now issue and it requires leadership from our regulators if it is to be resolved.”

Evans said the regulator must take the lead on the issue “given the consequences for providers and their customers if they were to experiment in ways that were subsequently challenged by regulators or the courts”.

Also in the speech, Evans said insurers need to be more “interactive and responsive” in order to engage consumers, and must fight the regulator to be able to do so.

He said: “The lack of excitement which is always likely to accompany the purchase of an insurance or savings product has to be compensated for by an experience as user-friendly as any available commercial transaction and we have to be prepared to fight tooth and nail with regulators where necessary to be able to achieve this.”

Evans added: “Insurance and savings are products built on trust – so we always have to be prepared to go the extra mile to demonstrate good faith, not just the letter of regulatory practice.”