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Aifa triggers RDR fightback

Aifa has launched the first stage of its battle plan against many of the Retail Distribution Review proposals it warns could endanger the future of professional advice and lead to severe consumer detriment.

Aifa is writing to all its members today with an impact analysis on the RDR and its related papers and asking for feedback on a range of issues.

It has also set up a Future of Advice taskforce charged with producing a “manifesto for advice” to be launched later this year.

Members of the taskforce include representatives from Baigrie Davies, Asset Management IFA, SimplyBiz, JS & P Towry Law, Sesame, Tenet, AWD, Bankhall, Stewart Asset Management Group, Thinc Group and Lighthouse.

Aifa says the taskforce will aim to develop a clear statement on the role and value of financial advice and set out where the financial advice profession brings tangible economic and social value- benefiting consumers, the UK economy and the business community.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says: “Empirically robust research is now starting to demonstrate the value that financial advice delivers for individual consumers. The work of the advice profession benefits the Treasury, through increased tax-take, the UK as a whole through growing the wealth of individuals and provides significant increases in financial capability to those who receive advice. We will also tackle the issue of why the professional advice community does not have the reputation it deserves.”

In next week’s Money Marketing, Cummings urges all advisers to engage in the debate around the RDR and warns of the potential implications of not becoming involved. Read his column here.

Aifa is also commissioning detailed independent market research and engaging with consumers to assess the economic and social value of advice and the robustness of the sector.

Cummings says it is the type of research the FSA should have conducted before writing the RDR discussion paper.

This work will form the first two months of the six month plan with the second period focusing on putting forward a positive agenda for what an advice firm in the 21st Century should look like. He says much of this will focus on the good work currently taking place in the industry.

Cummings says: “We need to focus on the role and value of independent financial advice as the gold standard of financial advice in the UK.

It has taken 20 years to get to this position. The investment in firm’s professional standards in the last five years has been breath-taking. I cannot think of a profession that has moved as fast in the last five years. It is deeply unfair that at a time when professional standards are taking hold we are seeing proposals that will risk unsettling the apple cart.”

The third part of the six month plan involves active engagement with politicians, regulators and consumer groups and the trade and consumer media focusing on the essential question of whether consumers will be in a better position after the RDR is implemented then they are today.


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