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Folly of resistance

The vast majority of advisers are getting to grips with the retail distribution review challenges but there is a small vociferous minority, dubbed in a recent survey as “steadfast rejecters” who are starting to fully realise the consequences of their inaction.

Resist they may but by doing so they are missing an opportunity to increase the value of their businesses and put themselves on the same footing as competitors. Even worse, they risk losing their livelihood. There are many misunderstandings such as:

  • “The Tories will abolish the FSA and scrap the RDR.” The Tories may restructure and rename the FSA but improving public trust in financial services remains central to their plans so we can be assured that qualifications will retain their significance.

  • “The RDR will force thousands of IFAs out of business.” Results of our last survey show continuing support for the professionalism proposals, with more saying they anticipate achieving further qualifications. Over 9,000 have sat a diploma subject for the first time in the last 18 months.

  • “The PFS and other industry bodies should be fighting our corner.” What corner, I ask?

    There are aspects of the proposals that certainly need refining and perhaps reviewing, all the bodies representing advisers are broadly supportive of the direction of the RDR and there is a strong consensus on raising professional standards, as shown by independent surveys as well as our own.

    That said, to lose one experienced and competent adviser is one too many, which is why we support alternative assessments. The methodology has yet to be agreed but the FSA is clear that the assessment must be based on the same level of knowledge and application that would be tested in a written exam.

    If this is the route you intend to take, you have nothing to lose – and everything to gain – by at the very least taking a look at the subject matter that you will be tested on.

    The PFS is not a trade body – we do not lobby on corporate issues. I am happy to leave this to Aifa and others. We are a professional body led by member- nominated directors and we will continue to support and assist our members, where possible, to meet the standards that will benefit the profession and retain the public trust, that is, deliv-ering on our mission statement: “To lead the financial advice community towards higher levels of professionalism through a wide programme of activities, including advocacy, guidance, publications and related tools and training and educational events, exhibited through ethical and behav-ioural standards, interpersonal and business skills and technical knowledge to the ultimate benefit of the professional and consumer alike”

    It is understandable that some will be apprehensive (or even fearful) about the future but the indus-try needs to evolve. Change is inevitable. It is also necessary.

    Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society

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    There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

    1. No mention of the longstop then Fay
      shame on you for continuing to be an appologist on the removal of a 15 year longstop, but well done for your and Gill Cardy’s sailing on behalf of a charity I believe is very important and close to home.

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