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Anger at lack of research over sales advice

Panellists at the Money Marketing RDR round table hit out at the regulator for not conducting consumer research into the sales advice channel before unveiling its proposals.

Technology & Technical founder Kim North said it is not acceptable for the FSA to bring out proposals for the channel before consulting with consumers. She said: “Amanda Bowe is apologising for it, insisting that the sales advice label is not final. Why haven’t they conducted the research and finalised it already?”

JP Morgan Asset Management head of UK sales Jasper Berens agreed, adding: “Everybody’s salary in financial services is paid by consumers, so why haven’t they done this already?”

The Money Portal head of distribution strategy Alan Easter claimed that the FSA will design its research questions to elicit the answers it wants.

He said: “The FSA will be thinking, ‘We have made the decision, this is where we want to go so let’s ask the right questions to justify it’.”

Tenet group distribution and development director Keith Richards said that previous research has shown that consumer confidence has increased in the advice sector while it has dropped in the banking sector.

He said: “Regardless of that, the FSA is trying to fit everything in the advice sector, not the other way around.”

Lansons Communication chief executive Tony Langham was critical of the sales advice label, which he said will only serve to confuse consumers. He said: “The term sales advice is an oxymoron. It does not make sense and consumers will not know what it means.”

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