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May the enforcer be with you

IFAs could be getting a new image with Baronworth’s Colin and Robert Jackson set to step into their own hard-hitting BBC TV series.

The Brothers will see the Jacksons take a hard-hitting look at the finances of the British public.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier confesses to being a little jealous but is quick to point out that with the series airing on BBC Three, the viewing figures are unlikely to be massive and he thinks that radio could be a better way to reach the public, for example, through his weekly slot on Radio Bristol. But he concedes that the Jackson brothers might present an image that could engage a wider audience.

The show casts the Jack-sons as financial enforcers, driving expensive cars with personalised number plates and reducing debt-ridden subjects to tears. The brothers discuss the problems of their first two subjects while fishing and then invite them to their private club in Mayfair to dispense advice.

Dampier says this is exactly what is needed by the financial advice industry – an antidote to all the property programmes. He says: “We need to make savings and investment sexy and appealing to the general public.

“Since the launch of Bar-claycard in 1966, we have reached a stage where debt is considered seemingly exciting, which is ridiculous. Nearly all the debt in this country is owed by four million people, with an average debt of25,000. If Colin Jackson and his brother are getting people to think about this, then good on them. We need a Ground Force for IFAs.”

Series producer Chris Rushton says: “There are a lot of people out there who have their heads in the sand and are scared to broach the subject of their debt.

“Through the programme, we can at least nudge people into thinking that maybe they should contact a financial adv-iser. We are told that the nation as a whole is getting richer and some people just get carried away thinking that they are too. If the Jackson brothers can persuade people to do something about their problems, then that is a start.”

Rickman Tooze chief executive Matthew Harris says: “IFAs are generally too wrapp-ed up in their own world to engage with the public. We are inward looking as a group, over-focused on industry problems such as the 1 per cent pension cap. There has been a big hoo-hah about that but the average punter couldn’t give two hoots. The man on the street is worried about where his next pay cheque is coming from and whether he is going to be able to afford retirement, that kind of thing.”

After hounding by regulatory pressures and media concerns about overcharging, Harris thinks IFAs have become like nocturnal animals, going about their business trying not to be noticed. He says it is about time they went out and flaunted themselves, behaving more like peacocksChurch Hill manager Anthony Badaloo thinks IFAs are quasi-social workers, whose positive contribution to the community is not recognised enough. He thinks that the Jacksons’ series will help to show IFAs in this positive light.

Badaloo says: “I had a man come to me last week whose wife had died. He lost his job and was on the verge of having two unmortgaged properties repossessed. He had been to lawyers but they wanted money up front. I was able to help him save his properties.I hope this programme will show people that if they have financial problems, they can come to IFAs for help.”

Brooks Macdonald director Tim Martineau sounds a note of concern, saying TV distorts things, with producers keen to sell the concept of their show and advance their careers.

He says: “The cases shown are going to be extreme and not necessarily that beneficial for the average viewer. If the brothers come across in a professional light, that is a good thing but if the Jacksons are presented in a Blofeld and Oddjob light, as it sounds they might be, then that is hardly going to help the industry to portray a more professional edge.”

Colin Jackson says the BBC liked the novelty factor of two brothers presenting the show but he is also keen to stress its constructive nature.

Jackson says: “There was a lot of work that Robert and I put in behind the scenes, to get these people to look constructively at their situations. I am hoping that this show will say to people, if you want some good, solid advice, then you should go to the independents, and not just to your bank manager. I believe in the show’s ability to demonstrate our expertise to the public.”

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