I am not sure why David Elms thinks that the Forum for Fee Based Advice service is being offered prematurely.
What we are trying to do is simply respond to market forces by matching the increasing number of consumers seeking a fee-only adviser with those adviser firms that have already made the switch to a fee business model.
As for misleading consumers, I cannot think of anything more misleading than a market-leading IFA search site, which presents itself as unbiased, directing consumers seeking a fee-only adviser to a list of all IFAs, most of whom are still heavily reliant on commission from product sales.
I have no axe to grind between either camp but isn’t it about time that the consumer is given the opportunity to clearly differentiate between the advisory and sales firm. In this way, they will be able to recognise where conflicts of interest might arise.
Finally, the FSA does have a definition on paying by fee. As Gill Cardy points out, this is stated in the initial disclosure document which I am sure all feeonly/fee-based advisers would support.
(Forum leader and Co-founder)
Tower Hill Associates