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‘Don’t let banks change the definition of advice’

Aifa director general Chris Cummings has warned that banks must not be allowed to use different terminology to dodge some of the implications of the retail distribution review.

Speaking on board the Pims conference last week, Cummings said that banks are trying to come up with terms to circumvent the RDR definition of advice.

Cummings said: “Big institutions have a choice. If there is something intrinsically valuable about the adviser label, then it is easy. Stop pretending that you are an adviser and become one and offer whole of market advice.

“Barclays, which used to include material about speaking to a financial adviser, are now saying, come and talk to our financial planner, so they are obviously testing out different executions which mean they dodge regulation. We are trying to improve standards in financial services and drive up the reputation and the big financial institutions are already trying to muddy the waters and drag us down to the lowest common denominator.”

A Barclays spokesman says: “Barclays Financial Planning is uniquely well positioned to take on the challenge posed by the FSA’s recent paper. We already select products from across the market and our advisers’ remuneration is not determined by the product providers.

“Our recent campaign shows that we are focused on offering our customers financial planning rather than just selling products.”

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