Independent financial advice is critical to the future of financial services, says economic secretary to the Treasury Ruth Kelly.
Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton on Tuesday, Kelly gave IFAs the strongest sign of support from the Government in years.
She said even if polarisation is scrapped there will always be a role for the IFA distribution channel, arguing it is sophisticated consumers who currently benefit most from IFAs and that it is the Government's task to extend access to lower-earners.
At the debate attended by FSA managing director of the consumer insurance and investment directorate John Tiner, Kelly said the idea of stakeholder compulsion was attractive but there would be practical problems with implementation.
The minister also defended the decision not to regulate mortgage advice, saying most of the consumer detriment in the past has not been suffered by those who had been advised.
Kelly said: “The value of independent financial advice will be crucial to the future of financial services. The question is, if consumers do get the best service from IFAs, we need a system whereby more people can have access to IFAs.”