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Bestinvest calls for Bowe to ‘crack on’ with RDR

Bestinvest is urging Amanda Bowe to press on with her plans for the retail distribution review, saying long-term problems with commission bias have necessitated the RDR.

Compliance director Jonathan Purle says the opportunity for reform should not get drowned out by “the inevitable din of old men clinging to their commission cheques and worthless Financial Planning Certificates”.

Purle says: “The point is that there are clearly two broad ends of the spectrum when it comes to financial advice and financial planning. There is a professional end marked out with such tendencies as higher-level professional qualifications, fees and recurring income or trail, ongoing servicing, asset-allocation reviews and planning updates.

He says there is a sales end, often marked out by a focus on finding product sales, initial commission, FPC – perhaps supplemented by little more than flimsy in-house testing, sales targets – with impressive sales conventions and possible self-employed status.

Purle says: “Often taking large amounts of commission on relatively simple products that could be bought online, occasionally taking large amounts of commission selling products they shouldn’t be allowed within a million miles of.

“Yesterday’s debate between Andrew Fisher and Nick Bamford underlines my point about these broad camps. I doubt either would appreciate my saying it, but they are basically in the same camp arguing about the details. Both believe in high-levels of professionalism underpinned by higher-level qualifications, both believe in ongoing servicing of clients, and both are certainly against the old-style life company-life salesman model marked out by initial commission and ‘replacement business’.

“My advice to Amanda Bowe is to ignore all the noise from the old life assurance types. Reform is essential for financial services. Clients need to be confident they are dealing with professionals when taking planning advice or with investment-savy advisers when reviewing fund choices. And why shouldn’t they avoid the costs of unnecessary and often poor quality advice when buying what ought to be straightforward products.”

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