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Paul Lewis: Time to scrap the ‘financial adviser’ label

Are you a financial adviser? I do not mean do you have at least a QCF4 qualification, a statement of professional standing and an entry on the Financial Services Register showing “Status: Active”. I expect you do.

What I mean is, can you advise people about finance? Not just about pensions and investments  but about income tax, benefits, rent, overdrafts, tax credits, being mortgage ready, where best to save, bankruptcy, credit reference agencies, premium bonds, inheritance tax, credit cards, care home fees, debt and fraud? Oh, and the state pension too, including pension credit.

Go ahead, tick the ones you are comfortable about advising on. You may well have ticked a few, even a lot in a kind of “well, sort of” way. And because the good guys tend to read Money Marketing, some of you may have ticked them all. But those who have will know what a rare beast they are. So, my point is this: if you cannot give advice on all matters of finance, in what sense are you a financial adviser? Is that term fair, clear and not misleading?

“Ah,” you splutter, “I am a Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 financial adviser.” Hmmm. Search as you will in its original 321 pages and 15 years of amendments and additions, but the term does not appear. Because, as you no doubt know, the term financial adviser has no legal standing at all. It only appears in UK legislation four times and is never defined. Clients may not be too impressed if you insisted you were a financial adviser as mentioned in The Sheep Annual Premium and Suckler Annual Premium Quotas (Amendment) Regulations 1993, Sch.2, Part V, para 1.(2).

This is a shame. Your years of study, your qualifications, your experience and your FCA registration should be recognised. And now is the ideal time to achieve that.

You will know the Government is seeking evidence for its Financial Advice Market Review. With its hand firmly held by the Treasury, its inquiry will look at, among other things, the difference between advice and guidance. That distinction was made only recently when the financial advice industry heard with horror George Osborne’s promise to Parliament that “free, impartial, face to-face advice” would be available as part of pension freedom. The thought that anyone other than regulated advisers could give advice led to its replacement with the term guidance, which is not so much advice-lite as signposting in the general direction of information.

Here is what the FCA/HMT evidence trawl says: “Labels like focused advice and basic advice, and the distinction between ‘guidance’ and ‘advice’, are not always consistent with people’s understanding of what advice is. We welcome views on whether we should seek new ways for firms and parties to communicate with consumers about the different forms of financial advice available.”

In response, I am asking whether we should get rid of the term financial adviser altogether. As I argue above, can you be a financial adviser when the financial matters people need to know about are beyond your professional knowledge and training?

Take Tracy, for example. The principal advice Tracy needs is around what her tax credit payment will be in April. Will it be cut by £1,562 as the Chancellor originally proposed, cut by a third of that as the changes are phased in, or deferred by three years? And what about her friend Jasmine, who, though she does not know it now, will become a single parent in May? Will she be subject to the new rules from day one? Tracy also wants to know whether she would be better off if she worked another five hours a week, as her boss has offered. And, if so, by how much?

“Harumph,” you tweet. “What does this idiot think I am, a Citizens Advice worker? She is not the sort of client I want anyway.” I understand that. But what if Tracy asks: “Will me or Jasmine be auto-enrolled into a pension? What is it anyway? Should we opt out? If we don’t, what kind of pension will we get from those basic contributions when we retire?”

The crux of the matter is this: is the term financial adviser appropriate when you cannot give advice about all aspects of finance?

As a way of regulating financial advice and clarifying what it is, I propose the term financial adviser be scrapped. Instead, let’s call you advisers about what you can do and usually do very well.

Some of you would be investment advisers; some of those would also be savings advisers. There would be pensions advisers, equity release advisers, inheritance tax advisers and banking services advisers. You never know, there could even be benefits advisers. Already, equity release advisers must do a benefits module to get the equity release badge. The ones I talk to are very impressive on benefits, for older people at least.

In other words, your title would effectively reflect your qualifications, the modules you had passed and professionally developed. That way the public would know what it was getting. And you would comfortably be able to say “Sorry, Tracy. I can’t advise about tax credits. I’m a pensions adviser. But I can tell you all about auto-enrolment.”

And, of course, if you covered the whole market in your specialist field, you could add that treasured word independent to your title. And if not, you would have to call yourself restricted. Now that would be fair, clear and not misleading.

Paul Lewis is a freelance journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Money Box’ programme. You can follow him on twitter @paullewismoney

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Comments

There are 60 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How much did this guy get paid to write this drivel?

  2. Paul, I am disappointed that, having made such a cogent argument for scrapping the one-size fits all ‘financial adviser’ label, you fall prey to the notion that ‘whole of market’ and ‘independent’ should somehow be equated. If you forget regulatory distortions of English one can be independent and NOT whole of market.

  3. Paul you are being polemic.

    I practiced (in the hope of improving) in my own business for 25 years as an IFA. Never once did I come across anyone on benefits. I ran a business not CAB or a benefits agency.

    I certainly advised on those matters that affected or are likely to affect my clients. Yes, this did include cash, Rent a Room, the State Pension and latterly Class 3A Voluntary Contributions – as examples. Indeed I can say, hand on heart that I covered all that was relevant or even potentially relevant. I know that I was by no means unique and that there were and still are plenty of good IFAs who offer truly holistic advice. Perhaps you should read what Jeff Prestridge has to say this week in that other publication.

  4. Perhaps Paul in the same way a freelance journalist should not be called that if he cant write on the current state of play of the Scottish synchronised swimming team?

  5. If I’m a lawyer that specialises in tax law but knows little about employment law – can I not still use the term lawyer to describe myself?

    • Yes at the golf club perhaps, but you are technically either a solicitor or a barrister in the UK. Lawyer just being a generic reference to someone who practices law. And you will find that the vast majority of UK law/legal services firms distinguish their employees/partners specialisms.

  6. paolo standerwick 5th November 2015 at 3:38 pm

    about time Paul Lewis was scrapped from BBC and the media listening to his drivel

  7. I guess the same could be said for all professions. Does a solicitor know every aspect of law, a doctor everything about medicine, etc. You become qualified by mugging up on a broad range of subjects, and proving you have the ability to assimilate and put to use what you have learned to pass an exam……pretty much the same as in all professions. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, and may either need to research certain aspects of a case before giving advice, or simply choosing not to advise in an area where their knowledge is weak.

    • A doctor will not know everything about medicine but to compare the knowledge gained through a level 4 diploma to a 5 year full-time medical degree, 2 years foundation training and then 3-5 years vocational training? And the Hippocratic Oath to a Statement of Professional Standing?

  8. Thought provoking piece Paul. Maybe slightly problematic on the business card front though – you know, Savings & Investments Adviser, Pensions Adviser, Equity Release Adviser, Mortgage Adviser, Protection Adviser, Inheritance Tax Adviser, Capital Gains Tax Adviser etc.

    And that’s before you get into the matter of being Restricted rather than Independent for Savings & Investments and Pensions because only one wrap platform is used, even though virtually every fund is available in the market on that platform.

    Fair, clear and not misleading – I’m not as confident as you to be honest.

  9. Nice idea in theory. However, what about those that do tick many boxes. Do you then have really long titles showing each area you do give advice in? If Tracy wants to pay a financial adviser to get her advice on tax credits (or other benefits) then that is fine. However, commercial reality is that she is not going to and post RDR makes that scenario unlikely. Pre RDR would see that scenario quite possible as that model was built out of cross subsidy. So, whilst you may like to have benefits advisers, who is going to pay for that advice?

  10. Paul – what a self serving diatribe this article is. As you well know anyone that has made the effort to qualify in certain technical area’s of advice is perfectly capable of researching and providing “financial advice” across a broad spectrum of financial matters even if that advice is to “sign post” the client to seek specialist advice from their tax accountant or HR department. As a breed most competent advisers defer to specialists or explain the vagaries of problems in giving advice where HMRC rules are unclear-eg Taxation of pension encashment under double taxation agreements for non residents.
    As someone once told me “In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king” and it appears you are making the case to erode respect for those who study hard to be in a position to advise to allow smart operators to “fill the advice gap” with decision trees and guidance providers who will be able to deliver at low cost due to no accountability.
    Read today the article on the issues surrounding “Pensionwise” and ask yourself – is this what the public want and deserve ? Certainly I would like to have answers as to where my 12% contribution is being spent.

  11. I note that you are a freelance journalist. Could you please write me 5,000 words entitled “Quantum Physics and Its Practical Applications”. You should be able to, surely? No?

  12. Anthony John Etkind 5th November 2015 at 3:50 pm

    And I suppose your next wise suggestion will be that solicitors cannot call themselves solicitors unless they are expert on conveyancing, matrimonial, litigation, wills, trusts, corporate, patent law etc, etc.

  13. richard libberton 5th November 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I just asked the chap who is painting our living room if he would have a stab at painting the Forth bridge. No chance, well he is not a painter then?

    I suspect this was written to get a rise out of the community. I certainly recall sitting Level 6 exams where there were questions relating to interaction and application of state benefits including tax credits. Perhaps Mr Lewis should not paint everyone with the same brush.

    If you excuse the pun.

  14. Would be pretty impressive for any adviser to provide Tracey with an answer regarding tax credits as the new proposals haven’t been released yet following the defeat in the lords. Perhaps they could be a Clairvoyant adviser?

  15. I don’t always agree with Paul, but on this, he’s spot on.

    Some may not remember, but the term ‘Financial Adviser’ was coined and foisted upon the industry in 1988 at least partly because the IBRC persuaded the SIB at the time that only their members should be allowed to call themselves ‘Brokers’, so the large numbers of ‘Life, Investment and Pensions Brokers’ then in business were forced to adopt the ‘Financial Adviser’ tag, although in practice, most continued, and in many cases still do, to better fit the previous description.

  16. By Lewis’ standards, he should not be allowed to describe himself as a journalist because he can’t file 2,000 words on Stoke 0 Leicester 0 5 minutes after the full-time whistle. Or provide a chess column analysing the use of the King’s Gambit Declined in the latest day’s play at the Minsk Classic. Or analyse the latest trends from Milan, or complete the Court Circular without confusing the Marquess of Graham with the Earl of Grantham. He can’t be a journalist because he cannot write on all aspects of journalism.

    In reality of course this is nonsense. Lewis is a financial journalist – he is, equally validly, a journalist. An independent adviser who advises on the full spectrum suitable for clients in his chosen market is a financial adviser. Lewis’ proposal falls down immediately because the majority of those who describe themselves as “financial adviser” will advise on several areas and none of the labels that Lewis proposes are adequate.

    No-one is going to ask Lewis to write a review of last night’s TV and there aren’t scores of confused people wandering into IFAs’ offices looking for advice on council tax benefit. It’s a non-issue.

  17. There seems to be a bit of a trend emerging here, Paul. It sounds like you really want to call yourself a financial adviser but don’t want the accountability, regulation, qualifications and CPD, fees and levies and everything else that goes with it. Good luck with that.

  18. Paul Standerwick 5th November 2015 at 4:04 pm

    This article is ridiculous for all the above reasons!

  19. Paul, do us all a favour and give it a rest ! Basically all you ever seem to do is try and dumb down or insult a profession as worthy as any accountant or solicitor. So, if I do a couple of days swotting on legal matters does that make me a solicitor ?! Surely by taking professional examinations, obtaining licences and years of experience it is enough to call myself a financial adviser, even though I may not know every last detail of every last subject that relates to someone’s personal finances. Why use this ridiculous theory to question our job title when we could do exactly the same if we wanted for every other profession or occupation in existence ? By not being able to write an article on American popular music of the 1970’s or crop rotation in the 14th century I am afraid that means you are not a journalist !

  20. What a complete and utter moron – every adviser i know is able to fully advise on all these areas and many more – which is more than him of course who isnt qualified to speak about such matters and by writing such hogwash shoukd not be allowed to call himself a freelance journalist.

  21. It would be interesting to know of his “qualifications ” to write from his ivory tower on financial services. Would his advice stack up against a complaint investigation?

  22. Great article! And on an appropriate day… “light the blue touch paper and retreat”!….

  23. If you lot were salmon you’d be in the tin.

  24. On this basis, can Paul Lewis call himself a financial journalist?
    What qualifications does he have in any of these fields?

  25. I think that this is simply one of those light the fuse and stand back…. bonfire night must be here…. Surely the difference between guidance and advice could be narrowed down to one points to further information (guidance) the other uses information to advise what is the most suitable option,implements and takes responsibility to review.

    For example, you have a chest pain, anyone sensible might provide guidance that this could be something minor or more serious, so you would be pointed to your GP and not simply rely on the internet for answers. The GP will presumably investigate further, either put your mind at ease, possibly provide some medicine or possibly refer you to a specialist at the hospital. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility for your own welfare, but it wouldn’t be wise to conclude you are having a heart attack and perform your own surgery. Most people have enough common sense not to call for an ambulance every time they have a chest pain.

    I would have different expectations of knowledge about the chest/heart from different people (you, the ambulance medic or the 999 respondent, nurse and GP). I’d expect the GP to have much more knowledge but not be a heart specialist. I wouldn’t expect them all to be made to take the same tests so that they can deal with a query about a chest problem…. which is more likely in our litigious world to mean that fewer would involve themselves in the process for rightly concluding that they are not willing or able to perform heart surgery.

    Mind you Paul, I’d be happy to see the Chancellor and Treasury take a few financial planning tests, they don’t appear to have much of a clue, yet shape monetary and pension policy, so I’d start there with a better label.

  26. Would a pension adviser be enough for a client to discuss retirement, or would they also need to employ the services of an investment adviser, a tax adviser, a benefits adviser and a protection adviser. How much does an adviser need to know in any field before they can call themselves an adviser. We all know the more expert you become the narrower the field and that a true expert knows everything there is to know about nothing.

    Get a grip Paul, write something that adds value.

  27. Take The High Road 5th November 2015 at 5:20 pm

    You are really a waste of hot air Mr Lewis……have you really got nothing sensible to say these days? If not, its about time you went off on a long cruise and pontificate on what you’ll be having for lunch, dinner breakfast and again and again and again….in fact forever old chap!!…

  28. When I was a building society manager I wanted “chief cook and bottlewasher” on my cards. Sadly I could never persuade the stationary department to print them for me…..

    Other than the FCA requirement that one’s job title should reflect one’s role, just like clients, I’ve no concern at all what goes on the card.

  29. Why not leave well alone.

    If the adviser is not sufficiently skilled in a certain area, he can do some research or direct the customer to an appropriate expert.

    GP’s do it all the time.

  30. If our remuneration originated from Levies or Taxes we could also afford to give holistic advise across the range mentioned by Mr Lewis and additional areas, but until that day arrives you will find advise is only available in areas which are ‘financially sustainable’.

    Besides , what does it matter what Label we attach to the Adviser – its the outcome that matters.

  31. I read that article as a sensible and thought-provoking piece. If what he’s saying is that there are a lot of different types of advisers and many of them offer advice about financial matters then, of course, he’s quite right.

    I take it even further and point out that the specialisation, limitation and defensiveness of many advisers does the client little good. What the client generally needs and wants is a bottom-line figure about the consequences of any options or choices that they have. That might, and quite probably will, include the financial performance of a product, the tax consequences of taking money in different ways and at different times, and the impact on any benefits entitlement.

    If they don’t get the whole picture, with the overall effect clearly spelt out then how can they make informed choices?

  32. Trevor Harrington 5th November 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I think we miss Paul lewis’s point … or perhaps I should say “the point of Paul Lewis”.

    He is an independent journalist, whose professionalism and standing is only corroborated by his own kind, and apparently he has “yet another important view” on a truly important subject, in which every member of the British public have a vested interest.

    Of course, he is an independent, but he has no qualifications of any nature in his chosen subject, at least no recent qualifications, and of course, he does work by commission only …. the latter being a most reviled and heinousness sin … according to him.

    The only reason why any of us are countering his article, which is obviously phrased and written in terms that are specifically designed to further his own personal commission income, regardless of the dreadful and seriously harmful effect on his readership clients, is that he has an unfortunate platform in the World of Financial Services, even if it is indeed born out of the gutters and raw sewage of journalism.

    If one was to require a real insight into Mr Paul Lewis and his motivations, one need look no further than the only two responses he has given above, in which it seems that his only question is how much his commission is likely to be.

    • I think you are confusing “commission” received as in that paid by for example a product provider, with “to commission” an individual to produce a piece of work be it an artist, architect or indeed journalist. Maybe Mr L used that term to illicit such a response. I am sure he is having a lot of fun looking at most of the replies.

  33. I understand the point, but it is misguided. The reason the example person doesn’t get advice on tax credits is because she is not in a position to pay for the advice. A referral to citizens advice is a reflection of the fact that they are in a position to give advice without being paid. This is the same with every other profession.

  34. Nice suit Paul. I’ve taken 10 minutes to work out how to log on , so I’m afraid Tracy won’t be getting my advice until Radio 4 is off the air. Nicholas Parsons for PM

  35. I needed a laugh this morning and this article provided it in spades! By the way, if Mr Lewis can genuinely knock up an article on the state of the Scottish synchronsied swimming team and Quantum Physics and Its Practical Applications, without having to do extensive research, then I would suggest he’s nothing more than a jack of all trades and master of absolutely none. Do we really want people like that writing about something this important ?

  36. Actually Mr Lewis I do hold qualifications to cover all of the areas you mentioned so how should I describe myself?

    Maybe we should all become unregulated self appointed experts with no qualifications?

  37. For my part, I agree with Paul on this one, anyone can be a Financial Adviser, regulated or otherwise and the loudest and fastest ones are usually those whose behaviour tars our reputation.

    Regulated Investment Planner is much better (mind you, RIP is not ideal to put after your name on a business card I suppose!)

  38. I notice I was the only person to make the “by that standard a journalist should be able to write about every subject under the sun” point that didn’t get a snarky “what rate are you offering” response from Lewis. Clearly synchronised swimming and quantum physics is within Lewis’ power as a “financial journalist”, but the prospect of embellishing a turgid draw between the Midlands’ finest is too much to ask.

    The irony of course is that an adviser who doesn’t – say – have the equity release badge, cannot advise on equity release. Yet Lewis is quite free to write 5,000 words on quantum mechanics even if the end result is riddled with errors, outdated information, and old-fashioned nonsense. His job isn’t to be right, it’s to be popular. With advisers it’s the other way round. Hence the conflict between advisers and the likes of Lewis or Cicutti that Money Marketing is ever keen to exploit.

  39. I think the comparison with GPs is a good one. Most will have previously been hospital doctors with a lot of experience in one or more specialisms, but a general grounding in the majority of areas of medicine. If you present with symptoms that the GP is familiar with from their experience they are likely to diagnose and possibly treat the condition themselves. If they are not so sure they will know the appropriate colleague to refer you to.

    As a regulated mortgage and protection adviser (and a qualified Will Writer in another business) I know what I can advise on, but if a client has a question relating to pension or investments I have a number of associates that I can refer them to.

    In my opinion, the bigger issue is distinguishing between regulated advisers and non-related ones. The job title is really not an issue.

  40. Its the same old responses repeated over and over again – rigid defense of what a great job we all do for our clients and that we are all doing the right things for all the right people all of the time.

    Paul invokes very much the same reaction as Nic’s work – no they aren’t regulated advisers qualified like the majority of the commentators – but they are clearly educated men and I believe that the fact that they aren’t ‘walking in our shoes’ means that they are perfectly positioned to provide an insight to the way the outside world views our industry – in almost every column written that eludes to poor practice or an alternative way of thinking many responses include the words ‘my clients….’ the fact is that of course your clients are happy, they trust you, your a good adviser, of course you are – many also say that if a client was to want an alternative service or doesn’t fit the current client bank then ‘they aren’t they type of client I want anyway’ and there in the lies the issue – we all have our clients that we are happy to work with and they are happy to pay for the service – but there is still a massive area that isn’t serviced and its the narrow minded attitude of the few that seem to think there are no problems within the industry and if there are then its the fault of someone else that hold us back.

    What Paul and Nic – even Martin Lewis, provide us with is a view of what the outside world think – it may be controversial and it may go against what we believe to be factual but its an alternative view that we might not always get to see from the comfort of our client bank.

  41. Paul,

    I am an IFA, I feel I have a strong knowledge on Pensions, Investments, Protection, Mortgages and Equity Release. I also have a good grasp of the other areas that you highlighted but by no means am I an expert, and speaking from experience, when a client asks you a question about an area you are unsure on you inform them you do not know the answer off the top of your head but will get back to them.

    You do not then redirect them elsewhere, you research the area they need clarification on or advice, if this means you contact you own professional connections you do, if it means you contact HMRC you do. Just because we may not know the answer at the initial meeting, does not mean we cant use our, qualifications, knowledge and experience to help our clients.

    I also feel your claim that we would not want the client wanting to know about benefits alluding that we would not be remunerated for our advice as somewhat disingenuous, as when you have been challenged to prove your capabilities as a journalist to write in different areas, your first question on each occasion has been “How much you going to pay me?”

    I class myself as IFA, because I will help my clients in all areas of finance.

    I look forward to hearing about the Scottish Synchronised Swimming Team.

    Mike

  42. What a pointless article, I can’t believe so many people have bothered to post comments!

  43. Loving all the posts that basically say ‘…just posting to say this isn’t worth positing on’

    I think you make a good point Paul – The issue people seem to miss is that this should be viewed from the point of view of the consumer, not the adviser.

    If I wanted some advice on financial matters, how would I know that a ‘financial adviser’ was in fact only a pensions and investment adviser and couldn’t give me advice on the best current account for my needs?

    It can of course be overcome by listing the types of financial advice offered by the adviser on their website or related marketing material.

  44. Ladies, gents do not rise to the bait. This article is hardly worth worrying about

  45. Paul, I always find it amazing when journalists use the word misleading constantly in their articles as it always seems to be a contradiction particularly when financial journalists have not done their research.

    As you may or may not know financial advisers are required to sit at least a Diploma level IV in financial planning to be able to give financial advice and are also regularly tested on a monthly basis to get a SPS certificate.

    Although the title Financial Adviser does not appear in the FSMA 2000 it does clearly state that you do need to be authorised and regulated to give ADVICE in the area of regulated products see FSMA 2000 Part IV. RDR took this further by stating that a financial adviser has to hold a minimum Diploma level IV qualification and do 35 hours of training.

    Could you remind me what your qualifications are to be a financial journalist and what continual professional development have you done to keep your qualifications up-to-date. I’m generally interested what qualification you hold to be able to go on TV and radio to talk about pensions and investments as some sort of expert!

    We are able to hold a conversation with most customers and that does include people’s entitlement to benefits. We do refer to specialist when necessary unlike the BBC who seems to ask opinions from financial journalists like Martin Lewis who does not hold a single qualification in financial services. Find it strange that it’s okay to ask somebody for a comment on pensions and investments as an expert but they don’t have any qualifications in the subject!

    Like many adviser I have a wide range of different clients some of which are people taking pension pots that may not give them significant incomes in retirement and therefore do have to give information on pension tax credits and savings credits.

    What I find quite amazing is that you and Martin Lewis seem to be confusing the right to use a title to the fact that we pay for the regulatory system and hold the liability through our fees unlike financial journalists who spout this type of rubbish. So what are proposing the Doctors should no longer be called doctors because the guy down the pub is read an article in the Daily Mail about a condition and therefore is an expert.

    You have probably successfully argued that there is a greater need for regulation in the area of financial journalism to report the news rather than to give advice/guidance by the use of the exemption within the FMSA 2000 for journalism. Maybe we need a greater definition of the term journalist as I thought they were meant to report news not act as commercial entities as in some companies I can think of.

    I also find it quite amazing that the somebody who is constantly going on about consumer rights you are in fact campaigning for a return to the Wild West the financial services with no regulation.

    Like many financial advisers I would like a full disclosure of how financial journalists generate their income when writing articles like this. E.g. have you any vested interests or who is sponsoring this article!

  46. I kinda get where Paul is coming from in some respects, I have never come across an adviser who knows everything about everything (some may think they do, which is another story) the same I wager for some journalists ! freelance or other ?

    Now, there is a thing called research, and knowing where and to get the answer to a problem, I am sure Paul will use this methodology as well ?

    Does the fact that I admit, I don’t know everything, and I will research to make sure any information I give to my clients is relevant, upto date and indeed correct ! mean I cant call myself an adviser, financial or otherwise ?

    So in answer to Pauls question “can I advise people about finance” the answer is yes and no (in truth) as my permissions may preclude me from some aspects !

    On saying all that, what does one call oneself ? Freelance or Nic (he is the biggest know it all, I can think of)

  47. Our Company are Chartered Financial Planner’s Paul, we will stick with that thanks.
    You keep on trying to find something else to beat those in our profession over the head with, I hope you find it rewarding.

  48. I am sure Paul gained the reaction he was looking for from the comments above.

    I personally find it amusing as I am sure Paul writes these articles to provoke advisers. With any reporting the feelings and beliefs of the reporter underline their message. In our case for whatever reason Paul clearly has an opinion of us and nothing will change this. To this end we are very unlikely to see any positive reporting from Paul which is a same, but then we never see any positive advice media stories. At least he admits there are some good advisers, which is about the best we can hope for.

    It does not matter what you call me. If those with the ability to sway consumer’s opinions cannot let go of the past, really take the time to truly understand the issues and start providing positive reporting to increase consumer confidence, the financial adviser will be history within the next decade for almost all UK consumers. You may think this will be a good outcome.

    As with any extinction in nature the resulting plague is never foreseen, but if you think regulated advisers are a problem wait until you have to deal with what will surely fallow.

  49. I have FCA permissions to advise on pensions, investments, Long term Care, Lifetime Mortgages, protection… but NOT on Pension Transfers (occupational).
    I removed the title Independent Financial Adviser from my business cards pre RDR although that is what I am as I prefer top explain to clients what I do, what I like doing (I hate doing mortgages), how I work, the sort of clients I have/want (not someone who just wants a mortgage) and so on and say that if I think I can help them I will, and if I think I can’t I won’t. My business card title is aimed at making them ASK the question, “so what does that mean you do” as it describes me as a “Money Coach and Financial Facilitator”, which is completely meaningless until I’ve explained what I do.
    I try and coach people towards a variety of what I consider might be sensible options and advice AGAINST what I consider to be negative options. I prefer to highlight what I will advise against rather than what I will advise to do as there is invariable mote than one way of skinning a cat! I would prefer to see the title “adviser” dropped and the focus to be on explaining options. Financial Consultant in some ways would be more appropriate than Financial Adviser.

    I have listened and watched the solicitors and accountants in our building and they rarely advise, they identify issues and highlight problems for their client to make an informed decision which the client then instructs the solicitor to act on.

  50. To be fair to Mr Lewis, the two words “financial adviser” are pretty meaningless in isolation. The issue is what you might replace them with, particularly as what a profession does cannot be condensed into a soundbite to put on a business card.

    Mr Lewis, may I humbly suggest that you read the below article as I am yet to find a better explanation of what I and many others in this profession do:

    http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/peter-hamilton-charging-fees-sets-advisers-free/

    If you are able to abbreviate it without diluting its content, I’d be interested to know.

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