The FCA and the Financial Ombudsman Service must support the advice profession in addressing a “serious and growing advice gap”, according to Personal Finance Society president David Ingram.
Speaking at the annual PFS conference in Birmingham last week, Ingram said advisers are likely to take the lead in looking to address a gap in the provision of advice to lower earners. But he said they needed support and guidance from regulatory bodies.
He said: “There is a serious and growing advice gap, although part of the FCA seems to disagree with us on that. The regulator appears to be leaving it to the industry to try to work out how to address that advice gap. And it is likely it will be the advice profession which takes the lead.
”Some form of simplified advice structure will probably be the start of that process. But we first need to work with both the FCA and the FOS to gain their support before simplified advice solutions can gain traction.”
Ingram told delegates there remains a number of issues resulting from the RDR which need to be addressed, including the regulatory definition of independence and pre-RDR commission.
He said: “The RDR wasn’t perfect and there are still some issues which need to be addressed, around for example platform usage, trail commissions on pre-RDR business, descriptions of service offerings and how to prove independence.”
Ingram revealed that the PFS’s membership is up 2.5 per cent on last year at 34,256. The number of chartered individuals is up by 18 per cent at 3779, and the number of chartered firms is up by 24 per cent at 558.
He added: “We are in a profession which is in a very good position, but we cannot and must not rest on our laurels.”