It is always so pleasing to hear stories of members going above
and beyond the call of duty.
On Thursday, Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the
Personal Finance Society, Martin Bamford will together with his
team celebrate the 100th episode of their Informed Choice Radio
I have previously appeared as a guest on Informed Choice Radio,
which plays an important role in keeping consumers and the adviser
community abreast of the latest developments in our sector.
To celebrate the milestone, a live 100th episode will be
broadcast at 1pm this Thursday. You can listen in by following the
On behalf of the Personal Finance Society, I want to
congratulate Martin and the team, and thank them for their
outstanding contribution to our profession.
Demand for advice drives market trend
The recent decision by Aviva to re-enter the face-to-face advice
market was met with a mixed response from the sector, with many
advisers concerned that the trend could lead to poor consumer
outcomes and potential conflicts of interest.
Money Marketing: The man from Aviva: What the return of
advice arm means for the market
Aviva is the latest in a series of life companies seeking to
extend access to advice products, and more are likely to follow as
demand for less complex financial guidance and advice plays to the
strengths of large institutions that already have a flow of
enquiries from existing clients.
Standard Life, whilst not wanting to be classed as a life
company, has taken a different approach through the acquisition of
established intermediary firms, with the intent to grow its
restricted advice arm 1825. Meanwhile, Old Mutual Wealth bought
advice network Intrinsic in 2014 and is acquiring additional firms
to build scale.
Scepticism around the re-emergence of vertical integration is
understandable, but concerns about re-entry into advice by the
likes of Aviva are largely misplaced in my opinion as the intent is
not to compete with intermediaries, but rather to broaden access
for consumers whose need and demand for advice continues to
In addition, life companies have the resources to train new
financial advisers, some of whom will go on to join intermediary
firms or set up their own independent practices.
Vertical integration in the life sector has been slowly emerging
post RDR, with pension freedoms triggering further acceleration of
Rising costs, risk and burdensome regulation have been cited as
major contributing factors for some firms attracted to vertically
integrated consolidation vehicles with others seeing it as a route
It is surprising and somewhat premature however, for some
experts to suggest that the re-entry of life companies into the
advice market, coupled with robo-advice, will lead to the demise of
the intermediary advice model.
Improved access to advice and technological advancements are
likely to result in more consumers recognising the need for
professional financial planning at some point during their
Several years ago, when the Banks were very active, I rarely
heard of an IFA who lost business to them - in fact it was quite
Consumers need greater access and choice of proposition, which
is why Aviva's announcement should complement rather than compete
with the intermediary advice model.
Investment in the sector is a clear indicator that there is
pent-up demand for financial advice.
Nonetheless, it remains important for the regulator and
government to consider the challenges facing the intermediary
market, in order to improve consumer access and choice.
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 »