Changes being brought in by the retail distribution review are so significant there should be a multi-million pound awareness campaign including television adverts, according to Lansons director of regulatory consulting Richard Hobbs.
Speaking at a PanaceaIFA event in London this morning, Hobbs said the FSA’s approach so far to consumer awareness of the RDR has been “insipid”. He called for TV advertising akin to the “tell Sid” campaign run by the Government in the 1980s when it sold off shares in nationalised industries.
He said: “In that case the Government was anxious to sell its shares in nationalised industries so £25m was found for a TV campaign but here all we have actually got is a little leaflet. In terms of significance and impact you really need something like a £25m TV advertising campaign. Advisers are not going to pay for it and the FSA certainly are not so there is a very significant mismatch between what is really needed and what we are doing.”
He highlighted claims from the regulator that it would be doing more to boost awareness beyond the two-page leaflet for consumers it has already released. He quoted a speech from FSA head of investments department Lind Woodall which said “this is just the beginning of our efforts to make consumers aware of what is changing”.
He said: “I do not care for that paragraph. If you ask them they cannot tell you what else they will do. The MAS will update its website soon with some stuff on the RDR but they are very busy defending themselves from the Treasury select committee. So what you have is a very insipid approach.”