The Sandler review presents IFAs with challenges which, frankly, have been ducked for years.
Widening access towards financial advice and whether customers understand what they are buying are the key elements IFAs need to address in Sandler. How do they do that?
An effective campaign needs to be orchestrated towards not just Sandler but also the FSA, the Inland Revenue and their Treasury masters. What should it include?
It needs to address the issue at the heart of Sandler's attitude towards the IFA sector – that IFAs are subject to their own commercial incentives – and trounce it with a clearly positioned poll/research which demonstrates why the mighty consumer still uses independent advice wherever he or she can access it.
Only on this Government's agenda – access, consumerism and social enfranchisement – can IFAs hope to reverse the arguments against them. The fact is that those who need independent advice are least able to afford or access it.
Sandler also muddies the waters on polarisation in the inquiry. IFAs need to ensure they – or their representatives – are talking as much to the FSA as to the inquiry's secretariat. It is no coincidence that the Treasury is seeking to create linkage here.
Someone recently wrote: “Consumers lack the time for, or expertise in, investment and savings and there is limited shopping around.” Who said that? Sandler in his initial report. Should this not be the core of any campaign?