The Personal Finance Society recently commissioned a
survey to measure the level of trust and confidence in the
financial advice profession. It followed a similar survey we
published in our 2013 report The RDR and
I am pleased to report that the survey shows that the trust and
confidence of consumers who use financial advice has increased by
40% in the past three years, jumping from 43% of advised customers
who said they trusted the sector in 2013, to 60% in 2016.
The result clearly demonstrates the improved sentiment since the
RDR, resulting from the profession's commitment to raise standards
and improve public perceptions.
As a 'united profession' we have an opportunity to improve
public perception further, as the survey also shows that the
perception of unadvised consumers has remained static since
Just 18% of respondents who had never sought advice said they
had trust and confidence in the advice sector, unchanged from 2013.
While there was a slight improvement from 2013, when 48% of
unadvised consumers said they didn't trust the advice sector, 41%
still hold this view. The remaining respondents said they were
It is clear that advisers are having a positive impact on those
who seek their services, but there is still work to be done to
convince the public more broadly of the value of seeking
professional financial advice.
Hopefully no one has missed the fact that the UK government has
publicly demonstrated improved trust in our members by mandating
advice within its policy reforms. The government clearly believes
in the value of advice, which is why it has been mandated for
safeguarded benefits, care, and the proposed secondary annuity
market, and additionally led to the Financial Advice Market Review
reviewing how to increase access.
By working collaboratively with the regulator and Treasury to
improve access to financial advice, and by demonstrating the
cultural behaviours of the profession, I am confident that we can
continue to shift perceptions and encourage engagement.
We intend to undertake a third survey later this year to track
progress. Congratulations on the improvements that you have all
made but please continue to play a key role in promoting a 'united
'Holistic expertise' can still be
In its Occasional Paper 17 on access to financial services last
month, the FCA suggested that consumers who were looking to take
out a mortgage should have access to 'holistic advice and
This, the regulator suggested, would help consumers consider
borrowing in the context of other personal circumstances such as
pensions, possible future care needs and inheritance.
Some of you would have noticed our response in the press last
FT Adviser: SMP confident brokers can offer 'holistic expertise' to
As chief executive of the Society of Mortgage Professionals, my
vision for the mortgage and protection profession matches that of
the regulator, and I am confident that the FCA's proposal can be
But this will only happen if mortgage and protection
professionals are equipped with the relevant skills, developed
through a combination of qualifications, ongoing CPD and an ability
to refer to an appropriate adviser.
A balanced programme would enable mortgage advisers to continue
to provide consumers with reliable advice, while identifying and
making appropriate referrals to suitably qualified advisers for any
needs that go beyond mortgages.
I welcome efforts to develop the skills of advisers who display
a commitment to their profession, and invite you to join our
campaign to evolve the sector.
By doing so, you will play an important role in providing
consumers with the full breadth of information they rely on to
support one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever
Changes to the board
I am pleased to inform you that the PFS nominations committee
has completed interviews for the two member-nominated director
positions being vacated by outgoing directors David Ingram and
After receiving a record number of applications, and following
an exhaustive interview process, the committee has put forward the
two successful candidates to the board ahead of formal approval at
the AGM on 14th September.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Money Marketing
Financial Services Awards.
As part of a judging panel for two of the key adviser and
paraplanner categories, I was extremely impressed with the calibre
of nominations, and selecting winners was a difficult task for the
I want to congratulate all finalists and winners at last week's
event, and thank them for the fantastic work they're doing day in,
day out for their clients, colleagues and the profession.
About the Blog
In this blog Personal Finance Society CEO Keith Richards will be
keeping you up-to-date with all the Personal Finance Society news,
projects and initiatives that we have in the works.
Read past editions of the blog »