HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc867-8W
Barbara Follett

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Sandler review of retail investment will be published. [68662]

Ruth Kelly

Ron Sandler's report is being published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and in the Library of the House. It is also accessible on the Treasury website.

Ron Sandler's recommendations have the potential to bring benefits for consumers, for the retail investment industry and to improve the workings of the market. They will mean more competition, greater efficiency and more productive investment.

Simpler, safer investment products of the kind Mr. Sandler proposes would be easier for consumers to understand. Greater focus on product design could clear the way for a more streamlined sales process. This would make it profitable for providers and distributors to sell to a wider range of less well-off people. That will encourage people to save.

Building on Mr. Sandler's suggestions, we will be consulting consumers' representatives, the industry and the FSA on these stakeholder products and how they might be designed. We will be working closely with the FSA who will separately want to consult on how a regime for their sale might be implemented.

The proposals also represent a real opportunity for the industry and others to think radically about the provision of financial advice. They offer the potential to extend access to low cost, good quality, generic advice to the mass market.

Mr. Sandler has tackled long-standing concerns about with profit policies, while at the same time recognising the value that many people give to being able to smooth out investment returns. He has recognised that change in this market cannot come over night. Mr. Sandler's balanced approach represents an opportunity to move to a new stable future for with profits.

The FSA will be consulting on Mr. Sandler's proposals on with profits—which build on earlier work they have carried out—as part of their own continuing consultations on with profits.

Mr. Sandler's proposals on distribution of investment products, consumer education and investment will produce a more transparent, better-informed and hence more competitive market.

We will consider Mr. Sandler's proposals on tax as part of the Budget process in the usual way.