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Unbiased.co.uk to add restricted WOM advisers to search

Unbiased.co.uk is to add whole of market restricted advisers to its ‘find a professional adviser’ online search.

The website, formerly known as IFA Promotion, had previously said it would only list IFAs post-RDR.

However, chief executive Karen Barrett says it has decided to list restricted WOM advisers in recognition of predicted market trends and to ensure consumers continue to have access to as many quality advisers as possible through the online search.

She says: “We are changing our business to ensure we remain relevant for the widest range of consumers, whilst still enabling consumers to access good quality advice through unbiased.co.uk.

“Our focus has always been on offering the best service possible for consumers and we remain committed to that. We believe adding restricted whole of market advisers is a natural extension of what we already do.”

Barrett (pictured) says IFAs and WOM restricted advisers will be clearly labelled as part of the search facility. Unbiased’s database is run against FSA data each week and it says additional checks may be performed to verify accreditations.

To list on the Unbiased database advisers must have an FSA authorisation for investment advice and provide whole of market advice in one or more advice area, one of which must be investment advice.

The changes will be introduced in November to coincide with the launch of the new unbiased.co.uk website.

Barrett adds: “Our focus remains on encouraging consumers to seek whole of market advice and to educate consumers on why advice is important.”

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Comments

There are 13 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’m going to have to think about my membership then to Unbiased.com as I thought the whole idea of the web site was to promote Independent Financial Advisers.

    If they do go ahead with this then they will have to give a clear indication of the differential between restricted and independent.

  2. There already seems to be a massive misrepresentation of RDR in the press with some newspapers stating that advisers have to be chartered past 2013. What the industry requires is a massive education process which is what MAS should be doing.

    I’ve just had an e mail from Unbiased saying they will clearly label adviser types, the problem is that the general public don’t understand the language themselves, after all we now have Chartered Financial Planners, Independent Financial Advisers and Restricted Advisers and many more besides.

    The thing that actually matters to the consumer is:

    a) Does the adviser hold an SPS certificate? and do they know what that is? as MAS and FSA are doing nothing to educate people on this fact.

    b) Stop CII and other recognised institutions using their own language and terms as a marketing ploy as this just confuses the consumer.

    c) Clear information from all sources on the differential between Independent and Restricted.

  3. Hhhmmmm . . . seems like another way to generate more membership income does it not?

  4. RegulatorSaurusRex 27th September 2012 at 11:49 am

    notquiteunbiased.co.uk

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel for subscriptions.

  5. So long as each advisory that is on unbiased is clearly labelled I don’t see the problem.

  6. Another excercise of putting ‘lipstick on a pig’.

  7. I agree, this is good news.

    I’m not yet finally decided, but for my client bank, and the way I want to run my business for the period I wish to continue, I think WoM, with some restrictions on product and advice sectors, may better suit both me and clients.

    Let’s remember, the term ‘IFA’ was foisted upon a sector that up to then had principally traded, and quite happily so, as ‘Brokers’, as in ‘Investment Broker’, ‘Life and Pensions Broker etc. and was coined to distinguish between tied and non tied advisers, under the polarisation rules. We all happily accepted the new title, even though many firms and individuals over the years might have been seen to have only limited independence, both in terms of the service they offerred and the providers they chose.

    It is only subsequent interference from the regulators, culminating in RDR, which has effectively stolen and re-interpreted the title, so I suggest that we perhaps don’t need to be quite so precious about losing or retaining it.

    Now that we are to be free of the shackles of commission, which I welcome, it seems to me that a simple reversion to ‘tied or independent’ would be sufficient, together with clearly stated charges, for consumers to make a choice..

    Once again, it’s the regulator who seems intent on making it all more complicated and difficult that it needs to be.

  8. ‘An IFA can help you manage your money better at every stage in your life’ – as it says on the Unbiased website. perhaps this is how it will change:
    If you don’t want an IFA and you are happy with something Unbiasedish then turn click on this link and meet a restricted adviser and get a free digital alarm clock as part of the deal! (and buy a structured product and some PPI so he gets on the annual platinum superstar sales trip to Barbados).
    To be fair AIFA also sold out and now deal with direct salesforces, and probably have more members (and revenue) as a result.
    Even the regulator is in on the act of confusing the public – launching the Money Advice Service that doesn’t er well give advice (despite having advice in the title).
    if you want to go further back to the 80’s our first regulators launched Polarisation and stated you had to be tied or independent.
    Oh that is unless you were a bank – when you could be both, confusing your customers.
    “Yes we offer independent advice but come and meet Gerry, he is really good and will instead sell you one of our in house pensions so I can go to Miami at the end of the year. Better still take out a structured product too, and my Wife and I will make it to the weekend in Monaco too”. (due to our complex internal sales target multiplier which a later regulator will first ‘discover’ is at odds with the banks’ client interests 25 years later).
    You have to see the funny side of all this, even if some of us don’t think many of these steps have helped the public.
    Compared to this sort of conflicting strategy RDR is a blessing!

  9. @Peter Kelsey. Funny how we see the same thing so differently. You see Restricted as being the worst case of Tied DSF and I see the Adviser who has chosen to offer Specialist whole of market advice.

    You see Independent post RDR as the Gold Standard and I see someone who will be forced by the FSA to be a Jack of all Trades.

    I wonder what the public will see ?

  10. You can still be ‘Independent’ under the FSA’s RDR definition and not give advice on equities, government and corporate bonds, IHT, long term care and pension transfers…

    So how does that fit with all the ‘holier than thou’ people saying independent is the place to be?

    If you are ‘whole of market’ then in my book you are independent.

  11. yawn, old ground. New world is restricted or independent. Chartered or certified are examination qualifications nothing to do with independence. join IFA Centre if you believe independence is valuable. a huge amount of nonsense promoting restricted as the only workable option, for goodness sake you have only got a 3 months…having had several YEARS.

  12. @dt 6.26
    It’s only been since June that fsa sent their paper which was so different from march! So not fair comment really.
    Do any of us know if our processes will be accepted by regulators as meeting independence or restricted until be have had the green or red light post January? I am working to being independent and feel confident in my process but it may not be accepted only time will tell.
    A suggestion would be:
    Independent which is.,,,
    Restricted whole of market which is..,.
    Restricted limited to xyz which is…..

    This will give public a better chance of understanding

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