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Backstage with Keith Richards

13th December 2016


As this will be my final blog for 2016, I thought it would be worth reflecting on what has been a truly momentous and tumultuous year, both globally and also for the UK financial advice profession.

2016 will be remembered as a year of unprecedented political and economic change, underlined by the UK's decision to leave the EU and the rise of political populism in Europe, and of course across the pond.

Against a backdrop of global uncertainty, the UK's financial advice sector has continued to evolve into a more professional, trusted and transparent marketplace for consumers seeking financial advice and long-term financial planning.

You have all played your part in meeting the needs of a growing pool of consumers who now value and demand professional financial advice more than ever before.

Throughout the year much of our attention has been focused on the much-anticipated outcome of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR), and we have been busy responding to a series of consultations.

Being at the heart of consultation activities with the FCA and Government, I have been heartened by their commitment to meaningful reform within our sector. We have already seen some major decisions made and I expect we'll see some more early in the new year.

Perhaps the most welcome revelation in 2016 was the Government's decision to scrap its plans for a secondary annuity market, just one week after we submitted our own input expressing serious concerns about the potential for poor consumer outcomes.

The FCA has also taken on board our input on FSCS funding, and pleasingly, is now considering an overhaul of professional indemnity insurance (PII) as part of a broadened review.

It is clear that we now have the ear of policy makers as they contemplate important regulatory changes and this is a privileged position to be in as we approach the new year.

Join the fight against scammers and fraudsters

In what has been an eventful year, we were left with a fairly uneventful Autumn Statement. For our sector, it was pleasing to hear the Government would open consultation on a proposed ban on pension cold calling, two months after PFS member Darren Cooke launched a parliamentary petition on the matter.

The Personal Finance Society signed the petition and is also urging you all to join the fight against scammers and fraudsters by joining our recently launched anti-scamming campaign, which we launched in collaboration with the FCA's ScamSmart initiative.

By adopting more innovative and sophisticated methods, these unscrupulous operators are posing a greater threat than ever. As we look ahead to 2017, we should all consider what we can do in the coming year to protect the vulnerable from these financial predators.

Uncertainty likely to linger

Finally, global uncertainty is likely to continue into 2017, when the demand for and importance of professional financial advice and planning is likely to reach new heights.

Congratulations and thank you for the role you are all playing in evolving our sector as a united profession.

Have a great Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

I look forward to speaking and meeting with many of you in 2017!


Kind regards,



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 »