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SimplyBiz slams Hoban’s “offensive” McDonald’s RDR comments

Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban’s comments likening the current required qualification level for IFAs to a diploma course offered by McDonald’s are offensive and betray a lack of knowledge about financial services, says SimplyBiz.

Hoban made the comments in a Westminster Hall debate this morning which addressed the RDR’s impact on advisers.

SimplyBiz managing director Matthew Timmins (pictured) says: “His inflammatory comparison of IFAs to McDonald’s workers is offensive to thousands of advisers who work tirelessly to provide clients with an important and professional service.”

“How can we improve the perception of advisers amongst the public when senior politicians are making this type of absurd comment.”

He added: “Hoban’s comments reveal not only a presumed lack of interaction with his constituents, but also a lack of knowledge about financial services.”

The debate was secured by Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin who had received a number of complaints from IFA constituents and 13 other backbench MPs backed up Baldwin’s concerns during the debate.

Hoban said: “”The current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. The products that are being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and long lasting in their effects than a Big Mac.”

Baldwin took 13 interventions during the debate while Hoban took only one in half the time.

Timmins says: “Had he consulted his constituents on this matter, I suspect he would have received the same feedback as Ms Baldwin, Mr Garnier and the 12 other MPs who raised concern.”


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There are 45 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. House Of Commons Contact Information

    If you would like to contact Mark you can write to him at:

    Mark Hoban
    House of Commons
    SW1A 0AA

    telephone him on:
    020 7219 8191

    or send him a fax on:
    020 7219 1709
    Email Mark

    Email mark at

  2. Offensive to Mcdonalds workers more like@_)

  3. Has anyone considered how much offence this may have caused McDonald’s employees?

  4. anti regulation man 20th October 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I don’t think you are really called Ronald McDonald. Goofy maybe.

  5. I was going to apply for a job McDonads, but have decided against it now that I know the exams are too hard. Instead I will purse a career as an MP where I need no qualifications despite the fact that my decisions will have an impact on millions of lives.

  6. They are both level 3 – and therefore equivalent in the eyes of the QCF

  7. Mark Hoban MP did not answer any of the concerns raised. In fact he refused to do so. His comments re McDonalds were designed to be a personal insult, perhaps because rumour has it that Hoban has been personally called to account by several IFAs and he now has a vendetta. Level 4 is equivalent to 1st year degree standard so good on McDonalds.
    I feel Mark Hoban MP does not have a future in politics and I imagine those MPs present at the debate will also feel insulted at Hoban’s arrogance. Some original thought from Mrak Rubber Stamp Hoban would be welcome rather that a blind acceptance of what has been passed by a discredited regulator.

  8. I for one couldn’t handle the pressure of working in MacDonalds with all those overweight Jeremy Kyle watchers ordering their big Macs – no wonder they all have spots!

  9. obv. not in the habit of commenting on the professional qualification of anyone where i am not personally qualified to do so, but was this Hoban guy previously the Mc clown?

  10. … do you want fries with that … ??

    Or large it for an extra 30p … …

  11. …. so there we are, McDonalds clearly aren’t the only place where they employee clowns……

  12. I thought we had replaced the idiots who were governing us, clearly some have been replaced by further idiots ……here we go again

  13. Maybe the concept of trying to give complex advice with the equivalent of a couple of GCSEs from 15 years ago whilst seeking to be treated as a professional could also be deemed offensive.

    Or merely stupid ?

  14. Well said Mr Timmins, I agree that these inflammatory remarks do little except deflect attention from the serious points of this highly important discussion. It’s reassuring to see a company such as SimplyBiz stepping up to defend the professionalism of IFAs in the wake of such unnecessary comments.

  15. Hmmm….!!! A drive thru financial services business.. I think not

  16. So wait – you’re saying that it’s an insult to be compared to a McDonald’s worker, but then say that you can’t be bothered to qualify yourself to the same level?

  17. You must be joking 20th October 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Of course, what Mr Hobnob failed to mention is the following:
    To work for the FSA – you need NO qualifications
    To work for the FOS – you need NO qualifications
    To be an MP – you need NO qualifications
    To be a Minister – yes, you guessed it, you need NO qualifications
    To be Chancellor – you need NO qualifications!

    Of course, that last of these and 12 years of overspending has led directly to the huge spending cuts announced today…

  18. What are the minimum qualifications to be an MP?

  19. McDonald’s is an extremely well run business that provides millions of meals a day to millions of people. Incidence of complaints, food poisoning, restaurant closure due to staff no-shows, is astonishingly rare given the size and geographical diversification of the business. As a shareholder, both as an individual and fund manager, I am well aware of the quality of training that McDonalds provides to its staff which is extremely beneficial to those looking to spend their entire career with McDonalds, as it is for those who move on to other companies – and not just in food retail – McDonalds training is very well respected internationally. There is nothing wrong with McDonalds QCF 3 or with FPC for intermediate non-complex work within either field.

    This is not the first we have seen of Mr Hoban and I regret it will probably not be the last – but based on what we have seen so far it is very doubtful indeed whether he could run either a small IFA or a McDonalds franchise, the fact that he is helping to run the UK is very scary indeed – glad I don’t live & work there anymore. Good luck to those who still do, with idiots like this in government you’ll need it.

  20. I have no problem with requiring much higher qualifications ( level 6 at least) if complex advice is being given.

    BUT the majority of advice given and products sold everyday are not as complex as Mark MacHoban would have us believe. Level 4 is not demanding enough for complex advice and totally irrelevant and unnecessary for basic advice/sales.

    Anyway now it has been confirmed. He is no more than a mouthpiece for the FSA. After the main speech and constructive interventions it was unreal to listen to this man reply just as though he was an FSA Official – which perhaps he will be once his ministry days are over ?

  21. (Direct email earlier today)


    Just come across your remarks re qualifications of financial advisers. You evidently believe that these qualifications are easy to obtain i.e. requiring little brain or effort. So why don’t you take the exams for the basic level and follow that up with one of the exams at Diploma Level say J06 – SHOULD BE A PIECE OF CAKE.

    Please let me know how you are progressing or if you need any help, although from your remarks it should be plain sailing.

    Off now to toss a few burgers!

    Ian Jones

  22. Having been an IFA for some 20 years and taken additional qualifications during that period, as well as structured CPD to ensure that my knowledge is up to date, I object to some of the comments being made. Providing sound advice to my clients is my priority, and I have to have the knowledge to do so.

    Whilst I do not object to taking further qualifications, finding the time for additional study is proving difficult.

  23. McDonalds have created more millionaire business owners around the world than the financial advice market ever has or now ever will.
    What was that training scheme again?

  24. I have made myself a little badge and each time I pass an exam I will put a gold star on it and wear on my lapel with pride.

  25. Baldwin took 13 “supportive” interventions during the debate while Hoban took only one in half the time as he refused to enter into debate or questions. Hoban was nothing more than a Canary Wharf hologram projecting the same old FSA speak.

  26. One wonders if Hoban’s getting backhanders from the FSA for peddling its intransigent RDR agenda and refusing to entertain any challenges from his parliamentary colleagues. Such payments probably go down in the accounts as “miscellaneous consultancy charges”.

  27. Having dealt with thousands of insurance salespersons, bankers, ifa’s and insurance brokers, I certainly believe M Hoban insulted the McDonald’s staff.
    Typical examples of the level of knowledge of IFAs is the one who offered his 20 plus years of pensions expertise to the Pension Advisory Service having never heard of it. Or the one that told his non taxpaying client to cash her ISA and re invest in an Insurance Bond because it was more tax efficient for some one in her position.

  28. To put qualifications into place and also highlight the ineptitude of Hoban – you have only to look at the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alan Johnston who has no qualifications at all – so he couldn’t even be a shift manager at McDonalds – but he can argue with Mr Hoban on economic matters. This also means that he couldn’t be an IFA either – nor for that matter could Mr Hoban as he hasn’t got the necessary qualifications either. So he’ll just stick to screwing up people’s livelihoods and dismissing his fellow Conservative M.P.’s attempts to intercede. Stupid, stupid man

  29. Many years ago my father(a member of the masses) said that youy would need a screw loose to be an MP. It looks as though he was right and Mr. Hoban has proved my fathers comments to be correct.

  30. A With Profits Bond with fries please. 20th October 2010 at 5:34 pm

    A Tory talking sense. What next?

    The amusing thing is he is factually correct. Both are QCA Level 3. It puts the inadequacy of FPC 3 into a fresh perspective. Cheap words from Simply Biz looking looking out for their own interests.

    Its strange how so many people can find every reason for not doing further exams. I would no sooner take legal advice from someone who has A-Level Law (as I do) as I would financial advice from an IFA with FPC3.

  31. It is amazing to me that so many IFAs are prepared to take umbrage with absolutely no knowledge of the McDonalds qualification in question.

    With this level of arrogance as to the work of others, is it any wonder that the profession is in the state it is.

  32. Well at least Financial Advisers and McDonalds have to have a qualification, which is more than a politician needs

  33. Love the arrogance displayed here. Anyone who dares to question IFAs and their farcical ‘qualifications’ is fair game.

    Politicians, life co’s, the man on the street etc all think that IFAs are sort of glorified insurance salesmen and yet any attempt to make the advice trade a profession is met by hostile opposition by the dinosaurs and the vested interests.

    If we WERE a profession we would have a single governing body, which would set qualifications and also monitor and allow/disallow individuals to be in the profession.

    Can anyone see that ever happening?

  34. I still can’t believe the sheer stupidity of the people who blog here maintaining that if you don’t have a qualification you mustn’t have the brains to give advice. How on earth did civilization survive I wonder. Did Leonardo have Level 4? What about Caesar?

    Good God!

  35. I totally agree with Simon. Hoban is a very foolish man who has not done this government any favours with his crazy comment. I like others had hoped the ‘Wallys’had gone but…..

  36. I suppose what he meant by the “current minimum qualification” was FPC – in which case he is right as the FPC is a joke.

    As for going on about MPs don’t need qualifications to do the job…yes you are right, but you will also find that most of them have very good degrees and have an IQ way above that of the average McDonald’s employee, or indeed the FPC qualified financial adviser.

    Do us all a favour: Get on and do the exams.

  37. I think the worst thing for me is that it is obvuous Mr Hoban was trying to be insulting and he has managed to simply show he believes himself superior to both McDonalds staff and IFAs when he is sorely lacking in the soft skills that both jobs require.
    He even fails to listen to his peers (or in this case fellow MPs), who explained their concerns very succinctley only to be ignored and simply have the FSA speel read back to them.
    Disgraceful show of how we are really run as an Oligarchy and not a democracy.

  38. This is just Simply Biz fiddling while Rome burns……. Biz, with its client adviser’s of average age mid 50’s are obviously wetting their pants at the thought of a large percentage of this client base walking away come RDR.

  39. The answer to Mr Hoban’s behaviour, may lie in the fact that he recently received a payment of £150,000 from Compliance Company, Oliver Wyman Ltd.

    This information is disclosed in the House of Commons, Members register.

  40. I typed in to google “what qualifications do i need to become an MP?” You don’t!!! Amusingly though the answer on came back as “You must be over 18, a British or Irish citizen, not be a serving convicted prisoner, not have been disqualified by an election court, not be a member of the house of lords, not be a bankrupt, loony” ? I would like to question Mr Hoban’s membership!!

  41. Absolutely right Harry….IFAs here are choosing to get on their high horse when they know full well that FPC is a complete joke and has been for years.

    Your basic FPC qualified IFA is terrified of charging for professional advice because they know they have nothing to sell.

    NB I have absolutely no beef with those who take the exams and become properly qualified – just the commission based ‘box shifters’!

  42. Unbelievable comments. Here we have a minister who effectively told those MPs, some who are on the treasury select committee present that their concerns were invalid and of no importance. He insulted them as well as us and they shouild take affirmative action. His constituents should also take action to have him removed as their MP in that he has clearly demonstrated a complete and utter disregard for their opinions, how arrogant.

  43. Still no balance.

  44. WHY NETWORKS ARE PRO RDR 21st October 2010 at 6:55 pm

    If a Network member produces £50K initial and £50K trail and the Network takes 15% thats £15K for the Network. If the Network bins 50% of its members thank you verey much FSA & RDR then the Network loses initial but gets 100% of trail and not 15% = £50K


  45. I agree that standards should be improved and getting qualifications is the only way. I`m nearly 65 and have been in the industry 46 years. I am taking the exams. I`ve got J04 & J05. I`ll betaking J08 & J06 next. What I object to is that I feel I am an easy target and if I dont get the exams I`m out. I`ve got to carry on because I was a late starter and have 2 teenage kids about to go to university. The highest qualified of you out there would agree, I`m sure, that I dont need a university degree to understand a personal pension plan or term assurance and yet every new client I meet needs both. I would like to carry out the rest of my working life without having to take exams. The nurses are being told that any new members entering the profession will need a degree after 2013, yet the existing working nurses are not being told if they dont get a degree by 2013 they`re out. Yet we are. There is something undeniably wrong with that. I would just like to carry on being a `general practitioner` seeing `middle England` and selling simple contracts. I`m happy to leave the HNW clients to the Chartered guys. What really makes me sad, is that, if I get the exams, the ordinary man in the street that I deal with now, wont be able to live with`fees`. Who benefits from that? Where`s the TCF in that?

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