Financial Advice Gets More Confusing

The silly billies at the Financial Services Authority, having spent decades building up the concept of Independent Financial Advice have now decided they don’t like it.  Unless clients want to pay by way of fees only.   Trouble is, when you are paying fees to an IFA, you are also paying the salaries of loads of Regulators and the IFAs main competitor, the Money Advice Service (a horrendously expensive way of giving “free” advice at the expense of the industry.)   So IFAs who have been IFAs for 30 years won’t be IFAs now unless they just charge fees.  They will be – to your eyes – classified exactly the same as people who represent one or a few companies – “tied agents” so you won’t have a clue which sort you are dealing with.

Having destroyed the banking industry, the economy, pensions and mortgage endowment, got rid of around 90% of the advisers who used to look after people before regulation, the FSA is now on the home straight to finishing off any form of advice at all for average folk, though no doubt they will find a way for their pals at the banks to be allowed to rip you off.

Protect your families future now, with non financial services legal advice!

Here is the silly billies Press Release about the continued destruction of the advice industry:

The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) comes into force from 31 December 2012.

This is the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) most extensive and far-reaching policy project to date.

The changes aim to improve the quality of advice,  reduce mis-selling and, in the longer term, improve the level of consumer confidence and build general levels of trust in advisers.

Key changes

The key changes which come into force today are:

The cost of advice must be made clear to the customer

Advice has never been free – but this hasn’t always been made clear. It is important that people understand that advice comes at a cost and what that cost is. At the moment, the cost of advice is often obscured in the price of the product and people are not aware how much their investment advice is really costing them.

We have banned commission payments from product providers to advisers. Advisers will have to clearly explain to the customer upfront how much advice will cost and how the customer will pay for it. This will ensure that the advice advisers give will be in the best interests of the customer, not driven by how much commission they could earn.

Advisers will be qualified to a higher professional standard

We are making sure that advisers are competent by raising the minimum professional standard and by making sure that advisers undertake regular training to keep their knowledge of the products in the market up to date.

Advisers will need to subscribe to a code of ethics, hold an appropriate qualification, carry out at least 35 hours of continuing professional development a year and hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) from an accredited body.

The type of service that advisers offer will be clearly explained

Financial advisers will have to clearly describe their services as either ‘independent’ or ‘restricted’. Advisers that provide ‘independent’ advice will be able to consider all types of retail investment products which could meet the customer’s needs and consider products from all firms across the market.

A ‘restricted’ adviser will only be able to recommend certain products, product providers, or both. This means they might only offer products from one company, or just one type of product.

Linda Woodall, head of investment intermediaries, FSA said:

“The changes will improve customer confidence – we want people to feel that they are getting a service from their financial adviser that is relevant to their circumstances and in their best interests.

“These changes are about making the cost of advice clearer, where else would you buy something without knowing in advance how much it costs? Customers will now know how much advice is costing them, the service that they are receiving and be reassured that their adviser is qualified.”

We have produced a consumer guide to explain these changes and to help consumers discuss these changes with their financial adviser. Here are five questions for consumers to ask their adviser:

1. How much will your advice cost me and how is this calculated?

2. Can you explain the different ways that I can pay for advice?

3. Can you explain what products you can advise me on and any areas you can’t help me with?

4. How often will you review my investments?

5. Can you show me proof that you are qualified to give advice?