LIFE INSURANCE group Skandia launched a stinging attack on its own industry yesterday, resigning its membership of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and criticising its peers for supporting a new regulatory regime which it said would confuse consumers.
Skandia, which was bought by Old Mutual in 2006, sells its products via independent financial advisers in Britain and has been vocal in the redrawing of the financial advice regulations.
The ABI supported the introduction of an "assisted purchase" advice category, administered by lesser qualified sales staff. Skandia claims that such a plan would blur the distinction between sales and advice. As a result, it shocked the industry by resigning from the ABI and joining AIFA, the Association of Independent Financial Advisers.
Nick Poyntz-Wright, the chief executive of Skandia UK, said: "For some time now we have viewed ourselves as different from more traditional life insurers and have felt a lack of alignment with the broader membership of the ABI.
"We offer our investment solutions only through financial advisers because we believe passionately in the importance of quality advice to guide and support customers' financial decisions. …