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Industry warns on adviser charging ‘rush to the bottom’

The industry has warned adviser charging could cause a “rush to the bottom” if the consumer press tries to compare adviser charges by focusing solely on cost.

Speaking at a Perspective Financial Group roundtable event, Nucleus IFA account director Darren Lowry said comparison tables will likely appear in national newspapers’ money sections setting out initial and ongoing adviser charges.

Lowry said: “Publicity from the likes of The Times and the Daily Mail next year is going to put more pressure on the IFA community to justify what they are charging and what they are charging for.”

But JP Morgan head of UK marketing Keith Evins warned advisers should be careful about competing on price.

Evins said: “You have to avoid a rush to the bottom. Advisers are taking the time to get professional qualifications. What may be transaction-based to begin with can turn into a client/adviser relationship. We need to ensure we do not undersell a higher level of service.”

Aifa policy director Chris Hannant said: “Price comparisons work where the product is a commodity. But if it is about an adviser building a long-term relationship guiding clients towards life goals, that is something very different.”

Financial Connection managing director Jackie Lee-Lis said: “Consumers can shop at Harrods or they can shop at Lidl. It is about giving the consumer the choice and IFAs and the industry have to do the same.”

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