Sofa chairman Robert Reid has made a passionate appeal to all IFAs to stop claiming they offer free advice.
In his opening speech at the Sofa Update Conference In Birmingham, Reid claimed the services IFAs offer will never be fully valued by consumers unless they increase levels of professionalism and move away from the concept they offer free advice.
He argues IFAs have a central role to play in breaking down consumer's inherent reluctance to pay for advice by proving they are professional and offering valuable advice which should be paid for the same way as legal or medical advice is paid for.
Reid's calls for greater levels of professionalism follows the announcement Winterthur is teaming up with Sofa to offer a software package which enables IFAs to calculate fees to charge clients.
The 'Toolkit' package will help IFAs calculate an hourly rate to charge clients, keep track of how much time they have devoted to individuals and how much money they are due from clients.
Sofa says the package is designed to ease IFA concerns amid increasing pressure from the Government and regulator to move away from a commission based charging structure to fee based charging structures.
Reid is also is calling for the industry to work harder at developing one recognised professional qualification, as he believes this is the key factor in raising the profile of IFAs and gaining the trust and respect of consumers.
Reid says: “The phrase “we offer free advice” needs to be banned if we are going to convince the public of the value of advice.
“We need to continue to work together to reduce the number of initials advisers are able to add after their names and create one recognised qualification.”