The Financial Services Consumer Panel has called for the Money Advice Service to “push regulatory boundaries” and deliver more to customers than merely “signposting”.
It has urged the MAS to provide “information and guidance as well as generic advice”.
In a position paper on the retail distribution review, published today, the FSCP called for the MAS to deliver more for consumers.
The paper says: “We have always been supportive of MAS and are keeping a watching brief on its progress. Although we have some early concerns, we would like it to push regulatory boundaries so that it can go beyond merely signposting, which unless links to other parties are quick and effective is likely to frustrate rather than answer consumers needs.
“So we will continue to encourage MAS to deliver more for consumers in this area than it has felt able to do to date.”
The FSCP also raised concerns that customers may be increasingly offered execution-only services post-RDR, if the new regulatory regime creates an “advice gap” as is widely expected.
The FSCP says: “We have also been concerned that consumers may increasingly be offered ‘execution-only’ services. While for many this will be absolutely right, for some it could lead to poor choices and poor outcomes.
“The banks may readily step in as a natural access point to this market, but given their past behaviours, we have not been convinced of this as a solution so far.”
In January 2011, Money Marketing revealed Barclays was closing its advice arm, Barclays Financial Planning, saying it will not be profitable after the RDR.
Barclays continues to offer advice to high-net-worth clients through Barclays Wealth but no longer gives retail clients advice through its branch network. It also offers an execution-only service through Barclays Stockbrokers.