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PFS Consumer Confidence Campaign gathers momentum

The Uniting the Profession initiative, launched earlier this year by the Personal Finance Society, is gaining momentum as some influential supporters formally add their support to the professional body's campaign to help improve consumer confidence.

The campaign seeks to use the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) to help change consumer perceptions and build awareness and trust in the financial advice profession which includes Mortgage and Protection professionals. However, before additional routes to consumer engagement can be implemented effectively, the Personal Finance Society is calling for the advice community to demonstrate a more united culture. In turn this will display and support the high levels of professionalism which already exists in the sector to external observers, such as the public, the media and the regulator.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, explains: "It is an incredible achievement for an entire market to move to a higher standard of professional qualification and fee structure in a relatively short space of time. This achievement, coupled with significant regulatory and market development, presents us with a tangible reason to establish and improve confidence in the financial planning profession and its inherent consumer benefit.

"It is, however, important to recognise the unintended consequence of sector self-criticism in the public arena as contributing to the erosion of confidence and trust in the entire profession. We are certainly not advocating that anyone turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, but we do need to recognise the consequences of airing negative views in public, as criticism of advisers, by advisers, will continue to impact the reputation of all advisers."

Lee Robertson, CEO of Investment Quorum, comments: "If we are to continue to build upon the changes brought about by the RDR and re-invigorate our sector, then surely what this campaign represents, in a non-partisan way, is a good thing. For me, this is absolutely not saying we shouldn't speak out loudly when we spot bad practice, but there are mechanisms in place to raise concerns for proper investigation and action - that's what professionals do, not blog about it.

"Many other advisers seem to agree with me and have committed to supporting the campaign and I really do hope that this campaign will bring about a more positive image with the public and regulator and demonstrate just how proud many of us are to work within the highly demanding, but incredibly rewarding, financial planning and wealth management sector."

Garry Hale, president of the Personal Finance Society, further commented: "This campaign is certainly not proposing that individuals should be silenced from having a view; quite the opposite. It encourages more advisers to have a view as it's now time for the silent majority to unite and positively influence the future of our profession through constructive value-added debate, conducted in a manner representative of professionals." 

Also commenting on the campaign Julian Stevens, principal of Harvest Financial in Bristol, added: "As an adviser who is not shy of sharing an opinion or two, I have always tried to balance opinions with facts in my contributions. Sometimes, it's difficult to disguise my frustration with the amount of change and disruption brought about by what often appears to be excessively zealous regulation, but I always post under my real name. I am therefore prepared to be accountable to my peers and to the profession I represent.  Now, more than ever, we should unite behind a common objective and I am therefore wholly supportive of this campaign. I encourage others to do the same."

David Thomas, joint managing partner of Chadney Bulgin, said: "Uniting behind the common goal of greater professionalism has obvious benefits to us all and certainly won't hinder better engagement and recognition with the regulator. A change of perception across the market is required to help us establish the evolution of an industry into a profession and it is our responsibility to help that evolution and unite behind some common professional principles. The entire team at Chadney Bulgin fully supports this campaign and we call upon advisers across the sector to join with us."

Pdf icon small To add your support please visit the campaign website »