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Aifa hailing report as victory for advice

Aifa is claiming victory after the FSA took up many of its recommendations in its retail distribution review interim report.

Director general Chris Cummings says the differentiation between sales and advice gives consumers their “fundamental right” to know whether they are being advised or sold a product.

Aifa also welcomes proposals that independent advisers should offer whole-of-market advice, meet higher professional standards and have a minimum level of qualifications.

Cummings says: “It is in everyone’s interest for the adviser community to have a common set of standards. The FSA recognises the need for a realistic transition period to ensure advisers have enough time to meet the new standard.”

He says the report has relegated the vested interests of the banks and big financial institutions, which he claims tried to seize on the RDR as an opportunity to push forward a sales mentality. He says research shows consumers do not trust major financial institutions to look after their financial well-being and praises the FSA for refusing to be swayed by banks.

Cummings says: “I think this set of proposals will be a big step forward in regaining consumer trust and confidence in the financial services industry. That more than anything else will address the savings gap, the pension crisis and also help people have confidence to buy more protection.”

However, he warns that the IFA market must continue to voice its opinions ahead of the next RDR paper, due out in October.

Speaking from the Money Marketing retirement summit in Monte Carlo, Tenet head of sales and marketing Keith Richards says: “In fairness to the FSA, it threw down the gauntlet to the industry and asked them what they thought.

“Aifa has done a fantastic job in supporting the intermediary sector.”


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