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&#39FSA pushing consumers away from independent advisers&#39

Support services provider Fee Based Advice believes that the long-awaited FSA consumer education initiative will push people further towards product sellers and away from independent financial advisers.

Early indications of the content of the plan show that greater emphasis is being placed on encouraging consumers to choose financial advice to support them through various life stages such as retirement.

But sales director Nick Peters believes this “responsive” approach ignores paying for advice as an option, excluding fee-based advisers, and pushes clients towards product providers.

Peters says: “The FSA is stopping short of advising consumers that advice is worth paying for. Instead, it will encourage consumers to go direct for financial products, dealing with product sellers rather than genuinely independent fee-based advisers, thus exposing them to product bias.”

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “We are expecting a new consumer strategy quite shortly from the FSA. We want to see some more emphasis on holistic planning rather than products contained in it, with very much more emphasis on letting consumers understand and take responsibility for their own actions in the future.”

But some IFAs believe the lifestage approach will encourage consumers to seek financial advice only when they are considering buying a product such as a mortgage, insurance policy or pension.

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