The implementation of the Retail Distribution Review presents
the financial planning profession with a real opportunity to change
consumer perceptions and build both awareness and trust in the
profession as a whole.
It has been an incredible achievement for an entire market to move
to a higher standard in a relatively short space of time and,
importantly, this achievement, coupled with a significant
regulatory and market development, presents us with a tangible
opportunity to establish recognition and improve confidence.
Whilst the vast majority of individual clients trust their
adviser to act in their best interests the same clients generally
have little trust in other advisers or the profession in general.
Consumer research provides evidence that retail financial services
are viewed with suspicion and a lack of trust, which is something
we need to change.
Advisers tend to be critical of one another, whether it's about
different charging models, independence versus restricted or simple
a hunch that adviser poor practice is still rife. Some advisers are
also happy to go public in deriding their peers on anecdotal
evidence of churning, miss-selling or other misdemeanours, with few
able to offer any actual evidence. You would rarely hear a legal
adviser accepting that wrong doing existed to any relevant extent
within their profession; indeed, a Lawyer would instinctively
defend their profession against criticism to avoid all Lawyers
unintentionally being tarred with the same brush.
It is important to recognise the unintended consequence of public
criticism as contributing to the erosion of confidence and trust in
the entire profession. And it's not just consumer perceptions that
are impacted, the regulator and other professions are also looking
Uniting behind professionalism
It is high time that the industry put aside its differences and
made consumers aware of the higher standards of professionalism
that the RDR has achieved. We need to unify and get our own house
in order - by demonstrating confidence and respect in our own
profession will ultimately influence external audiences looking in.
The potential benefits are immense:
- Constructive and balanced blog comment - national consumer
press scan the trade press, blogs and social media sites
- Better engagement with the regulator - a change in behaviour
will help influence the FCA
- Potential regulatory recognition, which could lead to a less
intrusive supervisory oversight
- Greater recognition and referrals from other professions and
- More graduates and new entrants attracted to the
- Professional image, which will secure higher consumer
confidence & trust
Greater opportunities for all
Our ultimate ambition must be to create a more vibrant financial
planning sector that is well thought of and highly trusted. More
consumers will seek professional financial advice and be confident
in paying for the expertise of highly qualified and ethical
adviser. Good consumer outcomes will be positively perceived by all
stakeholders and result in a reinvigorated sector offering
opportunities for all.
Numerous advisers and advisory firms have already formally added
their support to the campaign, including: