FECIF Secretary General
Do consumers and advisers finally have the same goals?
Over the last year or two it has struck me that the increasing complexity of regulation is not only being seen in a negative light by the financial advisory and intermediary market – there are also growing concerns being expressed by consumers and, in particular, consumer groups, that this is having a negative impact on the public at large.
Whilst it would be easy to conclude that more regulation means greater protection for consumers, this is often a misplaced belief and, arguably, lazy thinking. If regulation becomes excessive this tends to have a number of results: reduced availability to advice; greater end-cost; reduced access to any form of assistance for “lower value clients”; less product availability and options. Quite clearly, none of these outcomes are beneficial for consumers – or for anyone.
They are also highly likely to lead to a smaller advisory sector and a widening advice gap – just at the time when governments want consumers to take more responsibility for, and become increasingly engaged with, their own financial planning. If you don’t believe that this outcome is likely perhaps a quick glance at the UK post-RDR might change your thinking...