Time for a New Deal - and You Can Help Win It

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF PRESTRIDGE

HERE at last is your chance to have a say on the with-profits products sold by insurance companies. Fill in the form opposite and you will have a big influence on how they can be remodelled and made more customer-friendly.

Financial Mail will make sure that your opinions go to the Financial Services Authority, which has launched a major review of the with-profits business.

Our move to ask consumers what they want from with-profits has been hailed by consumer groups and leading independent financial advisers.

It is vital that consumers have their say in shaping a better product, according to Mick McAteer, senior policy adviser at the Consumers' Association.

He says: 'We support the FSA's with-profits review. But the lack of consumer input at its open discussion on with-profits last Monday was frightening.

About 200 actuaries from leading with-profits life offices had the opportunity to have their say, but only one member of the public was there.

'We applaud Financial Mail's desire to seek the views of consumers on this issue, and we urge its readers to voice their opinions.' The association reckons the FSA review is long overdue. 'After the Maxwell pensions scandal there was a wholesale review of the pensions industry that led to welcome reform,' says McAteer. 'A similar process should now be put into force for the with-profits industry. …