Lloyds to split its bank advice arm for RDR

Lloyds Banking Group is preparing to revamp its direct-advice arm in preparation for the RDR by splitting its offering between basic protection advice and a “financial planning” service.

Lloyds currently operates a single-tier advice team offering investment and protection products across its branch network, which includes Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.

Lloyds will create two types of branch-based advisers. Financial consultants will work as protection specialists while a second group will offer “wider financial planning advice”.

Lloyds declined to disclose the current size of its branch adviser network but under the new structure the number of advisers is expected to grow.

It says that no decisions have yet been taken over how to charge customers for its financial planning service.

Last year, Ernst & Young suggested banks would have to charge clients £200 an hour just to cover costs after the RDR.

A Lloyds spokesman says: “Customers require advice and support to understand and make decisions about their financial future and we are very well placed to take advantage of the changes in the financial advice landscape being brought about by the RDR.

“As the IFA sector moves up market, there will be significant opportunities for bancassurers to provide advice through their high-street branch network.”

Last year Barclays closed its advice arm while HSBC cut 460 “financial planning managers” due to the RDR.

Tower Hill Associates director John Lang says: “I would question Lloyds’ definition of financial planning. It should not be dressing the service up as financial planning if ultimately that is not what it is.”