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Nic Cicutti: Too early to blame the RDR

Nic-Cicutti-MM-Peach-300.png

Although often mocked, British journalism is the home of many fine habits, passed on through the generations. It has its own rites and rituals, with the same types of stories making guest appearances every year.

We all know about the “first cuckoo of spring” letters, not to mention perennial “hell in a handcart” columns, complaining about the disappearance of yet another fine old-fashioned social tradition – like the right to horsewhip your personal servants.

And I personally recall being on duty in one newspaper office on Boxing Day and driving to a turkey farm for a story whose opening sentence miraculously re-wrote itself every year: “Meet Lucky: the one that got away…”

What I had not quite expected, or at least not so soon after the RDR came into force, was a “handcart column” in Money Marketing telling us how its introduction had led to a collapse in intermediary numbers.

Clearly I was naïve – as I type this I can picture scores of readers happily nodding their heads in agreement in that regard.

But a fortnight ago, just like all other “handcart” articles – and barely seven weeks since the January deadline – an article appeared in the paper, blaming the decline in intermediary numbers since 2007 on the point at which “the RDR horror first gained traction and clawed its way from madcap theory to sadistic reality.”

For the few whose whose self-admitted failure to present a decent business case in favour of fee-based work to their clients, it is understandable that the RDR can cause such dread and they were already quaking in their boots six years ago.

As it turns out, research published by Mintel in December last year partially bears out this assertion. The number of directly authorised financial advice firms fell from 5,501 in September 2008 to 5,123 five years later.

But to blame the decline in financial adviser numbers since 2007 on the RDR strikes me as a bit rich. Can it really be the case that the fall in RIs over the past six years is all the fault of the RDR? Were financial advisers really saying back in, say, January 2008: “That’s it, I can’t believe what they will be doing in five years’ time, I’m off out of it now.”? Somehow, I find that hard to believe.

Apart from anything else, it ignores the huge decline in intermediary numbers from the late 1980s to the present day. Back then the industry could boast up to 250,000 RIs, yet many of them had not actually been advising anyone for years.

My guess is that other factors, such as the state of the economy and its impact on different sectors of retail financial services, have had a far larger influence on DA numbers.

A clear example of that comes from the Mintel survey quoted earlier: the number of mortgage advisers dropped from 3,090 to 1,394 over the same period. Similarly, the number of general insurance intermediaries also fell sharply, from 7,278 to 5,839, caught by the continuing dual squeeze of online insurance sales and web-based comparison sites.

So how should we view the fact that, as was reported in another paper recently, Matrix Solutions’s research recently found the numbers of regulated financial advisers – of all types, it should be noted, not just IFAs – fell by 15.4 per cent in the three months between November 2012 and February 2013?

It is clear there are several causes for this fall: one of them is that the RDR has had a disproportionate effect on sections of the banks’ advisory operations. This should, in theory, give IFAs a better opportunity to shine in a market where more people are looking for a quality advisory offering.

Another factor is natural wastage. Every year, people retire or leave the industry and the last few months will have been no exception.

It is undeniably true that there will be a significant proportion who will have taken the RDR’s introduction as the signal for them to bring forward their departure.

Indeed, I recall a fair number of comments to that effect in the last couple of years, with people saying they might have stayed for a year or two more but couldn’t face the aggravation of “re-inventing” themselves for the new regime.

Finally, as in the 1990s, there will be many people who had long retained RI status even though they now were essentially managers of their firms and only gave advice to a handful of long-term clients.

So, barely two months into the brave new world, what is the true picture for IFAs?

Some will undeniably find it tough. As Mintel’s research put it: “Those that exit from this point on will be advisers who have not prepared adequately and who are unable to compete either on service level or on a profitability basis.”

But Mintel also found that while 48 per cent of intermediaries were concerned about the negative impact of the RDR, 51 per cent felt it would either be positive or have no impact on their work.

There are times when, instead of bringing out the handcart right away, it might make more sense to stop and see how things develop further down the line. There could be stuff to write about that surprises all of us.

Nic Cicutti can be contacted at nic@inspiredmoney.co.uk

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Comments

There are 54 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “Matrix Solutions’s research recently found the numbers of regulated financial advisers – of all types, it should be noted, not just IFAs – fell by 15.4 per cent in the three months between November 2012 and February 2013?”-

    Nic are you really suggesting that 154 advisers out of every 1,000 leaving the industry in the last three months has anything to do with natural wastage….give me strength.

  2. RegulatorSaurusRex 7th March 2013 at 9:30 am

    CicuttiSaurusRex

    Undoubtedly extinct.

  3. The RDR has simply speeded up a process that was taking place anyway. With the average age of advisers being in the mid 50’s. What has happened is that a lot of the older advisers have simply brought forward their retirement to coincide with the advent of RDR. The worrying fact is that there are more people leaving the sector than are joining. As such if this trend continues the sector will be in decline. It will be better for those who remain, as to a certain extent they will be able to take their pick in relation to which clients they wish to work with. However, for the sector as a whole it does not project a positive future.

  4. Nic

    You cant help yourself can you – that ‘ol love fixation you have on Alan Lakey is rearing its head again !!

    You silly old sausage you ! Just come out and tell him how much you love him instead of hiding in the corner of the playground hoping he will notice you !!

  5. Nic. What will happen when we leave to see how RDR actually impacts on numbers? By then the FCA will revert to the “It was not of our doing and as its here now we may as well keep it”. Why dont you try getting a list of all the unintended consequences of RDR and note the negative impacts these have on clients, products, costs to the industry, advisers, providers and all affected staff who have lost their jobs. Then on the other side of the page try listing the benefits of RDR. Once this has been done put it to press and get the popular media involved and lets just see how the public actually react to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No spin – just facts. That would be novel Nic, wouldnt it?

  6. To focus on the number of DA firms alone is a bit limited.

    How many firms have gone from a Network to DA since Sept 2008 (and vice versa which I’d guess is less).

    The stat I’d like to know is the number of advisers in Networks + DAs in Sept 2008 compared to the number in those now. Now that would be a more meaningful stat than the DA numbers alone.

  7. Nic misses the point regarding IFAs and RDR. The main reason for total disgruntlement is tha fact that RDR forced IFAs to requalify to a new degree level examination. For those over 60 (maybe even younger) who have an unblemished record as an adviser over many years this was totally unacceptable. I refused to do the exam so had to quit. Forced early retirement is one way of putting it!

  8. Natural wastage my foot. The reason advisers are leaving the profession is because reality has come home that other than HNW people will not pay upfront and an adviser cannot afford to take regular payment of say £10 pm to live on. Consumers should be able to choose if they pay by way of commission or fee. What was wrong with and insurance company putting an extra amc on a plan for say 5 years so that the client in effect borrowed the commission and if the plan stopped or transferred the client paid a penalty

  9. It is too early to blame the RDR exclusively, but combine all the factors quoted above and it certainly hasn’t helped advisers (or IMHO consumers either!)

    We have c 200 investment clients paying us nominated trail which is adviser charge under another name. It is expressly declared (natural trail is rebated) it shows on all statements and can be cancelled by the client at any time; but because it was not called adviser charge we are having to re-sign every one of those clients. A one hour meeting costs £200 of my time and an hour of admin follow up £50 so £250 times 200 = £50,000

    We are abating some those costs by rolling some of these resigns into annual reviews but many need to be seen now so we can “disturb” their portfolios. So whichever way you look at it it is a huge paper chase achieving precisely nothing in the name of consumer protection or anything else. But we have to swallow a cost of tens of thousands of pounds because the FSA says so.

    That is the RDR in practice and that is why may advisers are leaving – and who can blame them?

  10. In a conversation with someone who thought being an IFA was a nice lifestyle a bunch of IFAs disillusioned the man by telling him that we lived in fear of a regulator who did not understand what we do for clients, who wrote regulations that contain large sections of incomprehensible material which you breach at your peril and who takes up at least 30% of management and adviser time.
    That is what is putting Advisers off continuing and new ones from coming in

  11. Nic said “For the few whose whose self-admitted failure to present a decent business case in favour of fee-based work to their clients, it is understandable that the RDR can cause such dread and they were already quaking in their boots six years ago.”

    Would someone please explain to me how a set of changes to how advisers are remunerated which worked well for decades, despite a few examples of abuse, has made clients any better off as most of the major outfits (Towry / SJP) etc are still charging “fees” expressed as a percentage of invested funds?

    RDR isa poorly researched, ill considered waste of moneyand time and Nic’s opinions don’t really matter do they, he is just a journalist and has little or no influence in the industry or the direction it is going (cliff edge lemming route)

  12. Incompetent Regulators Award Team 7th March 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Being told by reporters like this about my business is an insult to my intelligence. Why any fa would take anything this bloke writes seriously is beyond common sense!

  13. Roman Duzinkewycz 7th March 2013 at 12:05 pm

    When will be the right time to blame RDR then?

  14. Robert Brudenell 7th March 2013 at 12:15 pm

    The fundamental point here is that the effect of the costs imposed by a regulator that is getting closer and closer to running every aspect of an IFA business has made provision of regulated advice not profitable difficult to get into and personally very risky. It is no wonder that many of the best advisers who have good business acumen are entreprenurial and client centered are taking the opportunity of RDR to ask the more basic question ‘is this business worth my time and effort’ or could I do something more profitable and less risky with my talents and energy. I do not think we have even seen the start of the adviser drop off. This has all the aspects of a preditor-prey relationship. When all the rabbits have been eaten how will the FSA fox eat i.e. who will pay them. Regulation is a good thing but the current approach is bad for the distribution part of the industry and imposes exorbitant costs on clients.

  15. Nic mentioned ‘journalism’ at the beginning of his article.
    Similar to many articles written by ‘journalists’ we are given very little real information and no clear conclusions other than the writers own opinion which is most likely no-where near the truth.

    The facts are unless every single IFA leaving the industry is interrogated under a bright spot lamp we will never know why numbers are declining.

  16. I heard that the job of ‘Keeper of the Clocks” at Windsor Castle has fallen vacant.
    Maybe Mr C would like to apply. He always seems ready for a good wind-up.

  17. Sorry Nic but I dont agree with your assumptions other than the headline. RDR from our point of view is a shambles.

    At a seminar of a well known wrap provider they said that unbundling for them has meant higher investment manager fees, higher IFA fees being taken, huge delays in processing and joe public confused by the complex choices available. Not exactly what the FSA and others descibed would happen with lowers costs to clients , more competition, better services etc. In fact I am seeing exactly the opposite. However you are correct it is early days.

    We have also noticed like other IFAs in our area the number of enquiries has shot up as the shortage of advice hits home. Clients are concerned about who to go to advice when they need an IFA and are not getting a better deal fees wise or service wise.

    I surpose in light of the above I could gloat as it is doing us as a small IFA good but the price paid by the public & the industry is too high in my opinion and the end result is based on a crazy gamble and nothing more.

  18. Oh Dear, Nic must be running out of reasons to be cheerful, look old boy, listen to the people who matter and write something remotely interesting and stop simply making these comments for the sake of column inches, in other words, get real!

  19. John Constable 7th March 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Cicutti takes the Biscutti.

    (I aways wanted to get that in somehow).

    I view the RDR as just another nail in the coffin of quality financial advice for the everyday person.

    From the FSA/FCA perspective, it would be preferable to deal with a relatively small number of large/medium sized financial institutions, rather than zillions of pesky SME’s, so one consequence of RDR, is to effectively eliminate those SME’s.

    Incidentally, HMRC tends to think in the same way, they too ‘encourage’ people to become conventional employees, as they have no desire to have to deal with the tax affairs of lots of self-employed folks.

    Politcians too prefer the people to be conventional PAYE employees. Not only does it ensure a steady monthly income revenue stream but more subtly, tends to engender a nice compliant mindset in said employees, which makes life a bit easier for the politicians.

    People of England – resist – you are more than a (NINO) number!

  20. On and On it goes Tied agents are bad, multi-tied agents are bad, bank Sellers are bad ( have to agree on this one) The end of the world is now all to do with RDR. I have been in this industry for 40 years and I have to say loved most of it. I have and continue to “Make Difference” for my clients. I am 62 now and fully intend to carry on till they put me in a nursing home .

    The only reason there are about three of us left as advisers is the insanity which has been perpetrated upon us for the last 27 years has resulted in the insanity of the regulators we have had . A bunch of Jobsworths inflicting there view of our function and then trying to inflict their view of the world on us has resulted in Natural Justice being thrown out of the window, Extra-Ordinary Fees, Compliance costs, etc. etc. and on and on it goes.

    I watch with interest (and huge sadness) the blathering of Government, The FSA and other associated Criminal Jobsworths ( The prime of these being Not only ordinary Journalists but specifically the NIc Ciccutis of this world ) speculating as to this that and the other and blaming every else but themselves for where we all are.

    The only people who have, as ever, suffered is Mr Joe Ordinary who has now lost irrevocably his trusted adviser.

    The latest joke being articles about where the new generation of advisers are going to come from.

    As an illustration I had one of my son’s lined to to take over my business and have had to tell him I cannot , and would not inflict what we now live with and told him to get a proper job.

    THose of you who have guts to take what you have been handed out to you and what is coming I wish the best

    Sad Old Git

  21. Nic, There is a very simple way of measuring the effectiveness of RDR and that is by taking a regular review of the total take-up of protection, pensions, regular savings and investment products in the UK compared with the same numbers pre-RDR. I would like this survey to be conducted annually for the next 10 years. I believe that the numbers will speak for themselves. Exactly what surpises are you expecting from that information Nic? I challenge you to conduct the above survey personally Nick! Dick Carne

  22. The rate of decline will increase and anybody with half a brain knows this – clients generally do not understand what a good adviser provides for them until they become clients. In the meantime potential new clients will be put off by initial charges as they are unable to gauge the value. Nic dont understand this at all and neither does the FSA who on the whole branded us all as potential villains. The gravy train continues for the FSA but mark my words there will be payback at some stage

  23. The RDR in the real world yesterday :

    Me : Mr potential client, I recommend an investment bond for you, how would you like to pay ? A cheque or take the fee off the investment amount ?

    Potential client : Fee? You can stick that, I am keeping it in the bank, even though the return is non existent.

    Well done the FSA, well done the insurance companies.

    Average Joe in the street has no access to an IFA anymore. And the poor old IFA that dealt with Average Joe, has no clients and no business.

  24. Goad of toadhall strikes again.
    Like the previous poster, my son wants to take up the slack when I retire.
    We fell out over it but I am selling up.
    After a lifetime of looking out for him, what kind of father would it make me, to knowingly put him in the hands of an out of control, unelected, unaccountable stalinist quango.
    I am persuaded that his degree will be far more useful to him and humanity, in another sphere, far away from the madness of canary wharf.
    I know he will thank me one day.

  25. I must admit it is a lot more difficult having to demonstrate the service I provide to customers in order to get a fee rather than chucking them into a protfolio giving them the impression it was free whilst ripping out the back end of thier policy in charges to pay for my mortgage. 5 of those a week was a good living! Making money off other peoples money with very little effort…those were the days…

  26. Marcus @ 2.01
    Use a spell checker mate.

  27. “Those that exit from this point on will be advisers who have not prepared adequately and who are unable to compete either on service level or on a profitability basis.”

    What a phenomenally naive and silly statement from Mintel.

    This is not about advisers being adequately prepared or otherwise, it is about the public’s willingness to pay up-front fees for financial advisory services at a level which befits the overhead of many firms (remember, we have to feed a lot of people within and on the fringes of, our industry). Some will pay but many will not and this will be why adviser numbers have and will continue to diminish.

    Many have seen this and made their position clear by exiting. They obviously know their client base and its tolerances and fair play to them.
    Unfortunately, much as we would like, we do not have the ideal mix of clients to make RDR a success across the board, and for those who could not, or would not, pay up-front for advice there was a choice…RDR has taken this away, plain and simple.

  28. The British Bankers’ Association has hit out at the impact the RDR is having on consumers just over two months after the new rules came into force on 1 January.

    Nuff said Nic.

  29. There are five ways to buy. Independent advised, restricted advised, basic advised, non advised, and execution only.

    For comedy effect, here is a quote, honest from the FSA.

    ” With non-advised sales, there is no suitability requirement but an adviser must ensure that the consumer’s knowledge and experience is sufficient to understand the product they have received information on. The adviser will then assess whether the product is appropriate for the consumer’s knowledge level.”

    It may be clear to the FSA that an adviser can make non-advised sales, but it don’t make a lot of sense to me, and I’d hate to try to explain it to anyone else.

    The RDR is an expensive farce. The FSA has failed. And there is no-one facing up to the reality and proposing that we go back to first principles (stopping people getting ripped off) and start again.

  30. Sorry mate “you cannot have an isa – you are too stupid” and I do not want you to claim you had no idea what you were buying, in a few years time.

  31. John Constable 7th March 2013 at 7:35 pm

    There are five ways to buy a new car:

    Independent advised (we sell any make/model),

    Restricted advised (solus dealer),

    Basic advised (petrol or diesel)

    Non advised (you know which make/model you want)

    Execution only (Skoda Rapid -£12K take it or leave it).

    Why should selling a financial product be any different?

    This is an industry that has truly lost its bearings.

  32. not even ONE post on here of Anyone who agrees with Nic C. Does that tell you something perhaps Nic? And most posters are still advising, lvl4 and like me been adviser charging for about 4yrs!

  33. Nic you old quasi-Iti rascal, you’re at it again m’lad.

    Rather than inflict your non-worthwhile views why don’t you do some decent investigative journalism and look at how the FSA and all previous regulators use their positions to enjoy expenses, buff up their CV and then move on to the next stage of the lucrative merry-go-round for regulatory bureaucrats.

    You know what I mean, the endless succession of well-heeled positions where failure is no obstacle to promotion and a lack of compassion and knowledge is considered a positiive attribute.

  34. Only for a relative few are the requirements of clearing a higher qualifications bar (even I managed to pass the AIFA exam) and moving from commission to adviser charging enough to prompt early retirement.

    It’s EVERYTHING ELSE that the regulator continues relentlessly to rain down on us, IN ADDITION TO to the RDR, that’s pushing more and more advisers to decide that the costs and administrative burdens of excessive, persecutory, disproportionate and unaccountable regulation have poisoned the industry. More and more MP’s are finally waking up to these toxic realities. Consider:-

    1. Hindsight reviews,

    2. escalating PII costs,

    3. no longstop,

    4. the blame for and costs of regulatory failures routinely dumped on intermediaries,

    5. soaring FSCS levies,

    6. FSA/FCA levies increasing at rates way above inflation,

    7. the refusal on the part of the regulator to make any economies to its own budget,

    8. the hated GABRIEL returns,

    9. sham consultations and rigged Cost:Benefit Analyses (when the regulator even bothers to commission them),

    10. the regulator’s unilateral opt-out from the statutory requirements of the Code of Practice For Regulators,

    11. the absence of any sort of Regulatory Oversight Committee,

    12. the near powerlessness of the TSC to hold the regulator to account,

    13. massive golden parachutes for the likes of Clive Briault,

    14. a knighthood for Hector Sants (by any reasonable measure, hardly deserved),

    15. the routine and casual breaching of the regulator’s own (documented) expense limits,

    16. the arrogant and antipathetic attitude of the regulators’ compliance officers,

    17. its refusal to take any responsibility for vetting the quality of products or funds to which it grants authorisation (intermediaries must take sole responsibility for their own due diligence).

    The list goes on and on. For those who can afford to retire or find alternative employment free of all this misery and injustice, who can blame them?

  35. @Anonymous 7.35pm

    If only it were that simple but it simply isn’t.

    Independent advised (we sell any make/model as long as it’s packaged up in a certain way. If it’s not then we’re still independent but don’t have to consider others to be so)

    Restricted advised (we sell all makes and models, including the non-packaged ones that your independent adviser doesn’t but regret we don’t sell from one particular manufacturer in Peru so are classed as restricted)

    Basic advised (Same as the above but dressed up to seem simpler)

    Non-advised (we’ll guide you but you decide for yourself)

    Execution only (Just tell us what you want and we’ll get it for you)

    So simple it’s ridiculous. You would have to be a simpleton not to get this preposterously simple concept… I mean, how much more smple can it get?

  36. Grey Area @m10:11

    Execution only (Just tell us what you want and we’ll get it for you – if we have determined from our prior conversation that you are not an idiot)

    Best cover yourself by getting this execution-only customer to fill in a basic IQ test and only if he/she attains an IQ level of at least 105, can the execution-only transaction proceed.

    Honestly, how can anybody work under such a regime?

  37. @ Julian Stevens 10.11am – Love to read your comments – do you type them down off the top of your head or cut & paste? If you’re doing it off the top of your head you’re some boy!

  38. @Anonymous 10:49

    I stand corrected.

    Execution only (Just tell us what you want and we’ll get it for you providing you have a driver’s licence and can describe the workings of the internal combustion engine)

    Apologies!

  39. Such posts take a good few minutes to think about, compose, then edit and check over my morning cup of coffee whilst listening to music.

    I shouldn’t really spend so much time on them, but the issues are important and should be properly set down for anyone interested to read, hopefully not just those of us who have to put up with them all.

  40. Whilst Rdr itself is not a reason people are leaving the industry it has been a big catalyst as many here and Nic has noted. Those left will probably flourish for a while but like the banks will eventually find it impossible to make a reasonable profit as the cost of admin and compliance will wear them down or clients will do much more with online providers at lower cost. The industry, sorry profession , will decline and only the wealthy will be prepared and able to pay for quality advice the rest will have to rely on money supermarket etc …..oh and the “commission ” based SJP!

  41. Grey Area @ 11:15

    Seems to me that in financial services, ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware) has now been completely inverted.

    So, when the IFA sees a potential customer approaching, he/she must tremble in their boots, in the knowledge that one false step can turn out to be fatal.

    One now ex-IFA that I know became so paraniod that he would maintain a complete audit trail of every single contact with the customer, letters, emails, telephone conversation, the lot.

    He finally snapped when he visited our chums at Canary Wharf and had a ‘Falling Down (the film)’ moment although sadly without the M62 carbine.

    Would’nt be too surprised if something like that really occurs one day, with the FSA/FCA and/or HMRC.

    People can only take so much bindweed bureaucracy before they lose the plot completely.

  42. RDR – Really Dumb Regulation.
    Well done FSA. Our only desire now, is to hope that very soon, there will not be enough regulated entities to pay the fat cats a CW. We live in hope.
    Why do they keep saying they need more staff when there are less and less employed in FS, with another 40000 added only this morning?

  43. Anon @ 12.00pm
    He had probably read cicutti’s column before he se out for canary wharf.

  44. Anonymous | 7 Mar 2013 7:35 pm

    But there is no ongoing liability or responsibility for any purchase you make.

    Fool.

  45. John Constable 8th March 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Anon @ 3.55 pm

    You might wish to purchase a new car without a warranty or any sort of guarantee but I don’t think that most people would.

    Ah, these foolish things.

  46. Anon @ 4.11
    Car warranty lasts around 10-12 years max.
    Adviser liability lasts -beyond the grave.

  47. John Constable 8th March 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Anon @ 4.47 pm

    So, what you are saying is that IFA’s have one foot in the grave.

    Toodle pip.

  48. the goverment hoped that RDR would bring in clearer info to clients and less cost well guess what it is more expensive now for a investment of under 100k and as clear as muck

  49. I have been reading all these posts on a beach far away. Relaxing in idyllic surroundings does perhaps give one he opportunity to stand back and view things, if not anew, then at least reconsider.

    Whether the RDR is to blame or not for a reduction in adviser numbers is somewhat irrelevant.

    I know many are sick of hearing that I am not a lifelong financial services member (although it sometimes feels like it). I find it hard to believe that I have been in the business for 28 years, but I suppose that is what happens when you get older.
    When I joined Financial Services was a cesspit and has remained so by and large ever since. The RDR was a desperate attempt to fix things. It certainly has its faults and they are many – the product of bureaucratic minds, but forcing advisers to attain at least a reasonable minimum level of education is no bad thing. The previous level was derisory and I know of many ‘advisers’ who attended the absolute minimum of educational courses, and then only those that were free and if possible had some entertainment value.

    As to fees, well regulators over the years have tried to enforce some decency and transparency in the remuneration structure and it at last seems as if the RDR might actually have achieved this. It is to be assumed that no longer will we have second rate providers, pushing second rate products via the inducement of usurious commission rates to attract business they would otherwise not have a hope in hell of winning. That advisers will no longer trouser thousands for a couple of hours work flogging these benighted products can’t be a bad thing.

    If there is a cull of advisers ask yourselves what is the root cause. It’s not good enough just to bleat the mantra RDR. If there is a loss is it due to lack of the qualification and/or the necessity to charge fees. If that is actually the case then perhaps the cull (if there really is one) is justified.

    This industry seems to exist on the assumption that they have an absolute right to stay in business and transact that business in a way that they have always done. In which case – welcome to the real world – at long last.

  50. Three cheers for fine journalism.

    For yours though Nic, I’m afraid it’s trousers down and a bare-assed extra loud one.

  51. Tend to agree with Harry Katz above.

    IF any sector behaves badly, then sooner or later the Government will come knocking because the voters will have complained to their MP’s and pressure will build up so that ‘something must be done’.

    For example, lettings agents in the private rental sector are currently totally unregulated but you can be sure that won’t be the case for much longer because the cohort of tenants is building up to the point where they will have significant political weight.

    I’m not at all sure that the imposition of a heavy weight Government bureaucracy e.g. the FSA/FCA is the correct response but that is invariably what ends up happening.

  52. Anon @ 5.02
    You can get help with literacy skills – or in your case a lack of such.

  53. Anon @ 9.45
    “because the voters will have complained to their MP’s and pressure will build up so that ‘something must be done’.
    Unless it is IFAs’ who are complaining, then they will be totally ignored. Ask McHoban.

  54. That camel's got a stiffy 20th March 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Love him or loathe him, you have to admit that Nic’s articles frequently attract many pages of comment.

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