MM leader: Advisers show policymakers the way with Financial Planning Week

The sixth annual Financial Planning Week is well under way, with advisers up and down the country taking time out from their busy schedules to promote the importance of properly planning your finances.

As we report in this week’s issue, advisers are offering free surgeries and working with local and national newspapers, radio and TV to send out a simple but vital message about the need for people to have a decent finance plan in place.

The Institute of Financial Planning’s week-long campaign aims to help make a long-term difference to individuals and families from all walks of life. You can read more about what advisers are doing by following the twitter hashtag #FPWUK.

A central theme of this year’s FPW is to hammer home the fact that financial planning does not need to be the preserve of the wealthy.

There are important positive steps people can take such as paying down excessive debt where possible, saving what they can in the most tax efficient way, minimising potential IHT liabilities and properly protecting themselves and their family should disaster strike.

Hopefully the powerful message being expressed through FPW about the value of independent, impartial advice will find its way to Westminster and Canary Wharf.

As the Pensions Policy Institute director Chris Curry stated at a recent Money Marketing event, current Government policy indicates that it sees little value in financial planning as it looks to slash pension costs, whatever the cost.

Thinking about pensions, good financial advice can ensure lower opt-out rates and higher levels of contribution but this “value” appears hidden to policymakers obsessed with driving down headline costs without ever thinking about the wider context.

In the past, regulators have, quite rightly, been wary of the lobbying on simplified advice from the high street banks which often boiled down to a request for watered down regulations to help them sell more products.

The size and cause of the current advice gap in the UK is a matter of much debate. But whatever your view, the energy, enthusiasm and plans for engaging with the general public being displayed by advisers this week should be a good starting point for trying to get more people to take responsibility for their financial future.

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