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PFS launches trust campaign and warns against ‘dirty laundry washing’


The Personal Finance Society has enlisted the help of Apfa and IFA Centre as it launches a campaign to build greater trust in the advice sector.

The PFS launched its Uniting the Profession initiative in May and this week revealed details of a new Consumer Confidence Campaign aimed at changing negative consumer perceptions about financial advisers.

Writing in the latest issue of PFS magazine Financial Solutions, chief executive Keith Richards says the move to higher standards under the RDR represents a good time to boost the profile of advice. But he suggests the fact that many advisers are so critical of their peers in public does nothing to improve the perception of the profession among consumers.  

He says: “I am certainly not advocating anyone should turn a blind eye to wrongdoing or sweep it under the carpet. I am, however, highlighting the need to understand the consequences of washing our dirty laundry in public, especially without evidence. If anyone comes across evidence, they should report it, not blog or tweet about it.”

Other organisations that have pledged their support to the campaign include Threesixty, Sesame Bankhall Group, SimplyBiz, Investment Quorum, RSM Tenon, Lighthouse Group and Chadney Bulgin.

Clearwater Financial Planning managing director Duncan Carter says: “I am all for this campaign. The better firms are at projecting a good image of advice, the less space there will be for negative or rogue firms.”

Advisers can support the campaign at 


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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Aw gawd. Here we go again. Some people are obsessed about ‘confidence’ and Mr Richards is one such. He espoused the cause at Tenet and before that within his provider roles.

    The subject of trust may well apply to larger firms who have to assiduously trawl for business, but I would contend that very many smaller firms don’t have this problem at all. (Indeed even some big ones. Has HL got a problem with trust? – I think not). These firms have had clients for 10, 20 and even more years, receive referrals and are thoroughly trusted – perhaps too much on occasion.
    If Mr Richards means by ‘dirty laundry washing’ that those of us who are independent must hold our tongues regarding those who are not – then I fear he is again whistling in the wind.

    I feel sure I am by no means alone when I say that I have no need at all for this campaign. The mere fact of canvassing for trust actually highlights the opposite to those who are targeted. “Trust me – I’m an adviser”.

    If he is referring to Life Companies, banks and such like – that is truly a lost cause.

  2. Dear God, it has started again. Spot on Harry. The problem exists pretty much exclusively in the banking sector, not the advisory sector. Yet do we see the Banks trying to do something like this? No. Why does the PFS try to solve a problem that I would say 99% of its membership does not have a problem with? I think this is simply is him trying to make a name for himself and wanting to be seen as doing something which (in our industry) is high profile. It is lunacy. Just concentrate on promoting advisers and their worth and fight for justice for advisers by lobbying hard, not wasting time, energy and scarce recourses on ridiculous things like this. It is pathetic, truly pathetic.
    ………He (Mr Richards) says: “I am certainly not advocating anyone should turn a blind eye to wrongdoing or sweep it under the carpet. I am, however, highlighting the need to understand the consequences of washing our dirty laundry in public, especially without evidence. If anyone comes across evidence, they should report it, not blog or tweet about it.” What he actually wants is that the PFS is the only voice that is heard and we should all be little lame sheep all following blindly where it takes us. I think not.
    If Mr Richards is basing his evidence of negativity in public meaning blogs like on MM et al he really has lost the plot. How many of the entire UK population read MM online? Erhhhhh, virtually nil. By the number of non regular commentators on here, there aren’t even a huge number of advisers read and comment either. Just normally us grumpy old gits who like to say what’s on our minds. So I would like to know exactly what evidence this is based upon. Maybe the PFS should spend a bit of money doing some proper research and get those members of the public who do use advisers to tell about how much they value the advice and it is worth paying for. Publicise that all over the press. That would do a lot more good than this thing they are embarking upon.

    Anyway I am away to get put my other foot in the grave now.

  3. @ Harry Katz

    Those who know me are fully aware that I believe everyone’s opinion should count in society. I am not sure what article you have read but I understand that this campaign is about the PFS raising consumer confidence in the value of advice. Reading the full article on their website shows they are actively encouraging more advisers to contribute professional and value-added comment on sites like this (even if they have an opposing view it should be conveyed professionally) so that external audiences view us as a profession! Just putting ‘Financial Adviser’ into Google these days often leads to trade sites etc – so whilst you may have little problem instilling confidence with your clients, negatively portrayed comments may impact on prospective clients of other advisers. This is about confidence in the profession we represent, not our own self interest. I for one fully support any initiative where we can move negative perception on and help influence the future.

    @ Marty

    I feel anything that helps positively promote the work we do for our clients and the value that it can bring is important. I may only have 10 years experience in the profession but I anticipate wanting to spend the next 20 years helping my clients who trust me (at which time then I may be a grump old git). Everyone should voice their opinion if they so wish but as in my post to Harry, even a differing view can be posted professionally which doesn’t highlight some of the negative thinking within our ranks.

  4. Mr Richards should be aware that these blogs are the only outlet advisers have to air their opinions, good or bad.
    Do I trust lawyers simply because they unite together and refuse to air their dirty laundry in public? You bet I don’t.

  5. Well this poll seems to indicate 75% against!

    (About as relevant and accurate as the polls by the Regulator).

  6. Here is some DIRTY LAUNDRYwhich needs airing.
    The PFS sold it’s members down the river, when it said grandfathering should not be allowed under RDR.
    Many advisers in their 60’s simply left rather than go through all the exams to enable them to stay on for another 3 or so years.
    So dear members of the public, if you once had a TRUSTED adviser, who has since disappeared, it is because he has been put out to pasture by the FSA and the likes of the PFS.
    Why trust anything they say, when they cannot even take care of their older members?
    I will pay no attention to anything keith richards or any one else from the pfs has to say.

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