Advisers have slammed Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban’s comments likening the current minimum qualification level for IFAs to a diploma course offered by McDonald’s.
Hoban made the comments in a Westminster Hall debate last week, which addressed the RDR’s impact on advisers.
He said: “The current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. The products that are being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and long lasting in their effects than a Big Mac.”
Anand Associates managing director Bhupinder Anand says there is no comparison between what IFAs do and what someone does when a customer walks into a fast food outlet.
He says: “I find it insulting and belittling to our profession to compare it to a fast food joint. To then say the RDR is fine, without commenting on the fact that it will restrict the marketplace as the FSA acknowledges, is ridiculous.”
Wealth and Tax Management financial planning director Tony Byrne says: “What he is clearly totally ignorant about is that for the more technical areas you have to be better qualified. If you want to give advice on pension transfers, you have to have a G60 qualification and the pass rate for that is very low.”
Brunning Newman Houghton director David Brunning says Hoban’s comments underline the fact that greater professionalism is needed in the industry but adds that it is an unfair and unrealistic comparison designed to grab headlines.
He says: “He is being deliberately antagonistic. You do not come out with a comment like that unless you are trying to make headlines and, to an extent, he has achieved that.”
Adviser Alliance director Alan Lakey says it was a calculated political move to detract from the issues raised in the debate.
He says: “His gibe was calculated in that he knew it would anger advisers and detract from some of the extremely relevant and salient points being raised.”
SimplyBiz managing director Matthew Timmins says: “His inflammatory comparison of IFAs to McDonald’s workers is offensive to thousands of advisers who work tirelessly to provide clients with an important and professional service.”