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McAteer says Which? is winning the war

Watchdog once told it should ‘stick to testing toasters’ but it has built a powerful reputation

Mick McAteer says Which? is winning the war against the powerful financial services lobby and that his proudest achievement is putting consumer interest at the heart of retail financial services.

The outgoing principal policy adviser says when he started, industry reps at conferences were telling him Which? should “stick to testing toasters” but since then it has built a powerful reputation for holding the industry to account.

McAteer lists other important Which? achievements such as the introduction of stakeholder pensions, although he says it was undermined by “industry-propagated myths” influencing Government support for the NPSS and Which?’s endowment campaign.

He says Which? was instrumental in lobbying for a single retail regulator, even if the end-structure, performance and effectiveness of the FSA have disappointed him.

McAteer believes the move to depolarisation was “madness” and it is clear that the regulatory structure, culture and approach of the FSA is not fit for purpose.

He says Which? has always been supportive of the true IFA sector, even if it may not have always come across that way, and IFAs need to do more to differentiate themselves from the rest of the advice market in a more complex and unpredictable world for the consumer.

McAteer says: “The odds are and always have been stacked against us and we may have lost some battles but there is no question that we are winning the war.”

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “I have probably disagreed with much of what he has said over the years but we as an industry have to be willing to be challenged by people like Mick and he has played an important and valuable role in debates on financial services.”


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