Nic Cicutti is right that IFAs should not get too upset about the Financial Ombudsman Service’s involvement with Complaint Community. I have always believed that one should think twice before complaining about anything or else one comes to be perceived in the same light as the little boy who cried wolf.
In the days when I ran the Motorcycle Action Group, a bikers’ rights organisation, I spent a lot of time damping down members who were excessively upset about minor issues. The logic was simple, if we made a fuss about every little thing, then nobody would listen to us when something important had to be addressed.
Nic, however, should understand why IFAs are so hypersensitive these days. The RDR has cost us all a fortune and there is no telling how much more it will cost in the long run.
On top of that, rarely a week goes by that there is not another pointless and meddlesome interjection by our lords and masters at Canary Wharf. The latest ordinance, that clients must have the total premium cost of a life policy spelled out to them, is typical.
The FSA goes out of its way to create confrontational situations in the commercial transactions we undertake. They hate the fact that we are our own bosses and we can run a business selling products and services.
Well, whatever you think, the fact is that life cover needs to be sold. As a nation, we would be a sight better off if more people had more of it and there will never be enough cover of the right type sold by the direct firms or anyone else except IFAs. So now we have to spell out the total theoretical cost creating, yet another ’anti-sell’ by the enforced accentuation of the negative. Fine, so how about some reciprocity and consistency?
How many FSA employees would fancy having the total cost of their employment package put on the FSA’s website? How many politicians would like to be forced to include details of all their likely earnings and expenses with an election address? How many vehicle manufacturers would welcome being forced to give purchasers a projection of the likely finance, running and maintenance costs over the projected life of the vehicle?
The FSA has gone too far, in fact, it went too far a long time ago. It should ensure that advisers are competent and honest certainly but they should keep their noses out of how normal commercial transactions are conducted and leave business to the businessmen.
I meet a lot of IFAs and the fact is that a lot of them, perfectly honest and ethical people who I would trust to look after my own wife and kids’ finances in the event of my death, feel like hunted animals these days.
If you can understand that Nic, you can probably understand their anger at the FOS’s latest blunder.
Managing director West Riding Personal Financial Solutions