Prudential will publish policy detail proposals

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The Independent Online
PRUDENTIAL Corporation, Britain's largest life insurer, plans to publish its own proposals for setting out policy details to potential customers as part of a 'public correspondence' with Sir Bryan Carsberg and the Office of Fair Trading.

Prudential supports the OFT's approach to the long-running dispute about disclosing information. But Mick Newmarch, the Pru's chief executive, said yesterday that Sir Bryan's belief that 'transparent' products would drive out bad products through competition was 'too vulnerable to manipulation'.

He said Prudential was 'more concerned to ensure that the prospective client is given honest pre-sale information - in particular the level of charges, the proportions of premiums and income invested and the basis on which value builds up over the life of the contract'.

Andrew Large, chairman of the Securities and Investments Board, the senior regulator, told the same London conference that the life insurance industry faced 'a widespread lack of public confidence in (its) selling practices'. Products were complex and confusing, and evidence of mis-selling was compelling.

Mr Newmarch criticised the Government for fighting shy of legislation on investor protection, an attitude that constrained Mr Large's recent review of the system. He said the review was not an acceptable basis for change, since it could not give an unbiased assessment of the SIB's role. Mr Large and the Government were embarking on radical reforms while avoiding the consultation, parliamentary discussion and legislation needed to do the job properly.

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