It’s got to be worth a try, hasn’t it? In his prestigious figurehead role as supreme paladin of British insurance broking, veteran bruiser Eric Gallbreath this week jumped down temporarily from the trundling BIIBBA float and leapt aboard the nearby bandwagon on which that much reviled hate figure ‘the banker’ is currently getting a sound kicking – or would be if the impact weren’t so amply cushioned by sackfuls of usurer’s notes, taxpayers’ money, and fresh-minted quantative ease.

It’s time to ban bankers from selling general insurance, says Eric. Taking the recent declaration from FSA managing director Martin Wheaty that perhaps all those sales incentives might be encouraging bank staff to mis-sell insurance products (really, d’ya think?!) as his cue, EG opines that Britain should imitate the illustrious example of Canada by banning banks from selling GI altogether. Except, of course, presumably, through all those brokers they own?

Commenting on Wheaty’s announcement, Gallbreath ironically congratulates the FSA on taking “a step towards recognising the role that banks have played in the mis-selling of financial products”, but insists that only an outright ban on banks will do.

Sick of his collaterally damaged ass taking a pounding from all those boots aimed ineffectually at ‘the banker’, Gallbreath complains that “Our sector has been tarnished by the practises of other institutions, whose main business is not insurance and [who?] have mis-sold insurance products.” Bankstone News had its sector tarnished once, and can confirm that this is definitively not a pleasant experience.

Let’s face it, if there’s ever been a cat’s chance in hell of brokers nicking some business back from over-mighty financial institutions, this has got to be it. So, ‘well said, Eric,’ we say here at Bankstone News. Let’s get behind his call for banks to “focus on their core business” (accepting government handouts, protecting their capital from would-be borrowers and paying huge bonuses, presumably) and “not be allowed to directly sell general insurance.”

Come on then, FSA – why not seize this chance to go out in a blaze of glory by saving insurance brokers and their representative bodies the bother of communicating the value of their advisory services and competing with banks for the business of GI Joe Public.


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