His fulsome praise of myself, Simply Biz’s retail distribution review submission and our commitment to professionalism and transparency left me in no doubt that there would be a sting in the tail. As it turned out, Nic’s portrait of me as a magician was not too unkind but I would like to take this opp-ortunity to clarify a couple of points which he seems not to have fully appreciated.
First, I do not favour commission, I favour the consumer and freedom of choice. Given that I charged my first fee for financial advice way back in 1971, I clearly have no issues with fees. The reality is that I believe the method of remuneration should be the consumer’s choice, hence our support for CAR.
Second, I welcome his agreement that it is important for consumers to know the total cost of a product and that the total expense ratio would be a great way to deliver this benefit to consumers. Magically, TER would also simplify and enhance the transparency of costs for all consumers, regardless of the method of remuneration or distribution, creating a level playing field.
I have no doubt whatever that the above two points, along with our proposals for increased professionalism and transparency, would deliver significant benefits to consumers and we trust that they find favour with the FSA.
Finally, Nic has managed to be a bit of a magician himself as his article has conjured up this letter from me, which is the first I have penned to the press for a number of years. Well done, Nic.
Chairman, Simply Biz