Financial Advice Market Review

27 August 2015
Following the announcement of this review, the financial services community has a massive opportunity for a collective 'I told you so…'

On 3 August 2015, the government announced a major new review looking at how financial advice could work better for consumers.

The advice gap

Most would agree that the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) has increased professional standards in financial advice. What it has singularly failed to do, to the surprise of very few, is to make advice more cost-effective and accessible - despite the fact that this was one of the FSA's original aims.

Following the introduction of pension freedoms this situation, commonly known as the advice gap, has become increasingly obvious with many savers being told they must take advice in order to access their funds - but then finding that there are no advisers who are willing, or indeed able, to provide the advice required.

The result is the Financial Advice Market Review, which has the aim of "ensuring that all consumers have access to the information, advice and guidance necessary to empower them to make effective decisions about their finances."1

Aims

The review will be co-led by the FCA and HM Treasury and is seeking to create a package of reforms which will:

  • empower and equip all UK consumers to make effective decisions about their finances
  • facilitate the establishment of a broad based market for the provision of financial advice to all consumers, and
  • create an a regulatory environment which give firms the clarity they need to compete and innovate to fill the advice gap.

In addition it will consider:

  • the proportionality of rules and their impact on affordability and availability of financial advice and products
  • a framework for evaluating how successful reforms have been in closing the advice gap.

Timescales

The consultation will be launched in 'autumn 2015' with a view to producing proposals ahead of Budget 2016.

As ever we would encourage advisers to have their say. If regulatory costs are increasing and/or the constraints on offering different types of advice are growing, then tell them so. In writing, in the media and, most importantly, in response to the consultation.

All together now...

Further reading

Read the terms of reference of the Financial Advice Market Review.

Sources

  1. Financial Advice Market Review: terms of reference, www.gov.uk, 3 August 2015
About the author

Fiona Tait

Pension Specialist

Fiona joined the life and pensions industry in 1989. She is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and is currently Vice-President of The Insurance Society of Edinburgh. Fiona specialises in the areas of at retirement planning and pensions and divorce.

Last updated: 20 Nov 2015

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