I feel I must respond to the front-page article headed, Consumer groups call for free advice. So the Consumers' Association believe that IFAs provide the best quality advice but the price is too high for many consumers.
Well, this is not really a surprise to anyone, surely? Although the commission system of remuneration may not be ideal, it does (did) provide a service for clients who want to arrange financial services “products” but do not want to pay fees.
However, as the Government have gone down the cheap is best route on stakeholder, which does not allow scope for an adviser's fee to be built in, this is creating a void for clients who cannot afford to seek independent advice. The outcome will, of course, be misbuying on a large scale and the Government will be able to hold their hands up in 25-30 years time and say “Sorry, nothing to do with us guv, it was that other lot.”
However, IFAs will, of course, be responsible until the grave.
As for Virgin's proposal for computer-based decision-tree-walking by salaried non-FPC-qualified advisers, well, I still cannot decide if this is some sort of wind-up or not.
I mean, what next? Driving instructors that can't drive but have a good set of road maps? It really does beggar belief but nothing should surprise any of us anymore.