Saving Culture in the UK is on it’s last legs.
Savings Culture has been killed by the bureaucrats at the Financial Services Authority who seem to be operating in the best European tradition: if it moves, regulate it to death. And as far as the man in the street is concerned, advice is a thing of the past. You can look at the Money Advice Service website and get advice from bureaucrats in very generic terms. But the good old days of Independent Financial Advice being available to most people are gone.
And just to confuse things further, the idiots (sorry, but it is true) at the Regulators are now insisting that an Independent Financial Adviser working on commission can’t be called an Independent Financial Adviser. That leaves the door open for people who are tied agents to be in exactly the same class of adviser as commission based IFAs, so people who fondly believe they are dealing with an adviser who is independent but accepts commission to be misled into dealing with a tied agent.
That is my rant over, here is what Axa have to say:
Are we doing enough to encourage a savings culture in Britain? Andy Zanelli, head of retirement planning, AXA Wealth, says we should do more.
“Today saw a very disturbing claim that those looking to save smaller regular amounts are being refused help on the high street, yet there seemed to be exceptions if you already had savings quoted at £50,000 or more*. Is this the first tangible evidence of the advice gap everyone predicted pre-RDR? More importantly, is this the outcome the FSA truly wanted from this customer driven piece of legislation?
“If you read this in conjunction with the Prudential’s research that claims Thousands of Britons planning on retiring this year will do so saddled with debts of more than £30,000** a stark picture seems to be emerging. We stand at a crossroads on the road to getting the nation saving; initiatives like auto-enrolment are a positive step, but the government needs to get the advocacy and engagement of advisers and employers quickly. A savings culture isn’t something that is going to happen overnight. It will take a massive mind shift for the average man in the street, but is crucial to a comfortable future. The best way to start this is with the teenage generation and embed a savings culture as a fundamental part of their life.
“On a positive note for those potential investors getting no luck on the high street it’s great to see direct, online investment propositions coming to market to engage with the technology generations. Clear, simple, easy to use technology underpinned with the core savings tax wrappers such as ISAs and OEICs complemented with a well-researched range of investment choices. Amongst the bad news, this is a ray of sunshine for millions who just need to know the solution is there.”