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Balls says advisers need educating as much as the public

Treasury Economic Secretary Ed Balls has hit out at the advice sector, claiming it is as big a challenge ensuring that adv- isers educate themselves about industry developments as it is to educate the public.

Speaking at an ABI Parliamentary reception in London last week, Balls said when it comes to financial education, making sure that advisers understand and are abiding by evolving regulation will be just as hard as making the country financially literate.

Balls, tipped as a future Chancellor, told the closed meeting of industry officials and MPs he was surprised to find that there were still so many advisers in existence on his return to the Treasury in May’s reshuffle. Balls served as chief economic adviser to the Treasury between 1999 and 2004 before entering Parliament at the last election.

LibDem Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary David Laws says: “I would be very surprised if the majority of advisers were not extremely literate and up to date with the industry changes and new regulation. This does not seem to me to be one of the biggest concerns at the moment when it comes to financial education and managing financial risk.”

A Treasury spokesman says: “Increasingly complex products, greater choice of providers and the requirements of effective regulation present opportunities and challenges for both consumers and IFAs. Ensuring that IFAs are fully informed is a challenge that can be met by continued partnership with the industry.”

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