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BBC’s Money Box reignites trail commission debate

BBC Money Box presenter Paul Lewis
BBC Money Box presenter Paul Lewis

Trail commission has come under the spotlight again following a BBC Money Box programme which reignited the debate over whether advisers are justified in receiving ongoing commission without offering an ongoing service for pre-RDR business.

The Radio 4 broadcast over the weekend featured a listener called Michael, who said that he had “never really been clear”whether his adviser received trail on his £90,000 investments.

West Riding Personal Financial Solutions managing director Neil Liversidge said: “Most financial advisers are ethical, and will tell clients what they are getting.

“I know you are laughing Paul because you like to present an alternative view that is at odds with the truth. But I find it impossible to believe Michael has kept these investments going all this time and has not had any interaction with his financial adviser.”

Presenter Paul Lewis asked whether trail encouraged advisers not to service clients.

He said: “We spoke to one adviser who told us trail commission for many is money for old rope. IFAs are building their model off trail, building pots of millions so they can retire on trail of hundreds andthousands.”

IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy said: “Switching within insurance products can still happen.

“This is not a licence to do absolutely nothing and let something languish for 20 years.”

Financial website Candid Money owner Justin Modray said: “It is a perverse situation that if the adviser does rock the boat and try and look after you but you do not want to pay the advice fee, they could lose you as a client and lose the commission they would have got if they kept quiet.”

Money Box first covered the trail issue in September 2011, referring to it as “one of the industry’s best kept secrets”.


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  1. I do not know any IFA’s who hide legacy trail commission ,they tell their clients its to cover meetings ,reviews ,client calls ,fund switches and general advice ,so do not get his secret thing holier an though journalists refer to. trail commission does help build a business value its true but what is wrong with that? maybe they should work for nothing for a year then get paid depending on whether people liked heir programme based on the ratings they get? fall of in ratings means a pay cut?

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