I feel that you have been too kind on the regulator, the Bank of England and the Treasury over the Northern Rock affair.
I have no issue with what they have done, nor the Northern Rock management for providing innovative mortgage solutions to the UK market.
I can remember having to plead with my bank manager for a mortgage some 25 years ago and even then I failed at the first attempt – a bit like a driving test, I guess. How things have changed and for the better.
My issue, though, is the retail distribution review and the fact that IFAs are depicted as being bad and the banks are good (because clients trust them) and the FSA is god.
Imagine having all your assets, pensions, deposits Isas, etc, (people do) through one bank institution. Imagine the panic then and that is what bancassurance will eventually deliver.
Is there not a lesson in all of this that the public does not trust the FSA, the Government, the Bank of England or the high-street bank brands so why pick on poor little IFAs as if we are the ones that cannot be trusted and create all the distrust in the market? They really do need to step outside their ivory towers and see what is going on without an IFA in sight.
Money spent on consumer confidence and consumer education? Do financial investors appreciate that the FSA were not supervising the events surrounding the outbreak of foot and mouth and it was in fact the Food Standards Agency. I suspect the majority of UK consumers would not know the difference.
The funny thing is that our clients are quite well informed, perhaps because we have educated them, and we have had more calls asking whether we thought they should buy Northern Rock and Alliance & Leicester shares than anything else.
I like our clients for having the gumption to spot an opportunity.
Keep up the good work on the RDR.