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Top names come together to draw up manifesto for advice

Aifa has set up a taskforce comprising some of the biggest industry names to produce a “manifesto for advice” for launch later this year.

Aifa says the Future of Advice Taskforce aims to develop a clear statement on the role and value of advice and set out where the profession delivers tangible economic and social value to consumers, the economy and business community.

Director general Chris Cummings says: “Empirically robust research is starting to demonstrate the value that financial advice delivers for individual consumers. The work of the advice profession benefits the Treasury through increased tax take, the UK as a whole through growing the wealth of individuals and provides significant increases in financial capability to those who receive advice.

“We will also tackle the issue of why the professional advice community does not have the reputation it deserves.”

Aifa is commissioning detailed independent market research and engaging with consumers to assess the economic and social value of advice and the robustness of the sector.

This will form the first part of the six-month plan. The second part will focus on putting forward a positive agenda for what an advice firm in the 21st Century should look like. The third part involves active engagement with politicians, regulators, consumer groups and the trade and consumer media focusing on the question of whether consumers will be in a better position after the RDR.

Cummings says: “It has taken 20 years to get to this position. The investment in firms’ professional standards in the last five years has been breath-taking. I cannot think of a profession that has moved as fast. It is deeply unfair that at a time when professional standards are taking hold, we are seeing proposals that will risk upsetting the apple cart.”

Tenet Group chief executive Simon Hudson

“We need to give a very robust statement of how effective the financial advice marketplace has been and can be in future. Some percentage of what has been said in the RDR has possibly been unhelpful and is not going to be beneficial for the consumer but equally now they have something they can build on. But the IFA community has only really got one voice which is not as well financed and supported as the banks and providers. More then ever, we have got to make sure we provide a robust response.”

Future of Advice taskforce

Baigrie Davies director Tom Baigrie
Asset Management IFA managing director Dick Carne
SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy
Sesame chief executive Patrick Gale
Tenet group chief executive Simon Hudson
AWD chief executive Mike Kirsch
Bankhall chief executive Peter Mann
Stewart Asset Management Group senior consultant Les Shields
Thinc Group chief executive John Simmonds
Lighthouse Group chief executive Malcolm Streatfield

Bankhall marketing director Richard Howells
“We want to make sure that the voice of the small adviser, that we feel we represent, is properly heard. They might be small firms but they make up the biggest proportion of the intermediary marketplace and have got to be heard.”

Lighthouse Group chief executive Malcolm Streatfield
“We are aiming to be the voice of professional financial advisers in bringing the value of what they do to the attention of everybody who is interested. The RDR was ill thought through. Over the last 20 years of regulation, and the last five in particular, professional standards have increased year on year. To carry out a whole industry adjustment is unnecessary. This is a discussion paper open for debate. Aifa is intending to get involved in this discussion and debate.”

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