Kinder Institute of Life Planning president George Kinder believes the RDR will only limit access to advice in the short term.
The FSA’s original RDR discussion paper, published in June 2007, said the review would address consumer access to financial products and services. Access to advice is no longer stated as one of the aims of the RDR and many advisers fear the mass market will not be able to afford their services.
Kinder argues that as the financial advice market becomes more professional and geared around customer service rather than product sales, access to advice will not be a problem.
He says: “The banks’ strategy on financial advice is the same as it was five years ago, in that it is about selling products in volume. Without a vision of where the financial services industry is heading, we would stay in a terrible place where working-class people do not get advice.
“But there are a lot of good advice firms that are reaching out to the mass market and are committed to working with middle-income people. The word is going to get out so while in the short term, access to advice will be an issue, in the medium to long term, I am not worried.”
FSA head of investment policy Peter Smith told Money Marketing last month the regulator had done all it can to minimise the number of people who cannot afford to pay for advice by allowing the adviser charge to be taken from the product as part of regular contributions.
Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton says: “The RDR will have short-term and long-term ramifications for access to advice. That makes me sad because I do not know what is going to fill the gap for the people at the bottom.”