In response to the letter by Michael Brayne of Brayne & Co in Money Marketing last week, Which? would like to put the record straight about how we conduct our research when mystery shopping financial advice.The research is designed to test the quality of financial advice available across the market. Therefore, it is essential that we visit financial advisers that represent the market as it is presented to consumers. In this research, we visited 28 tied advisers and 32 IFAs although three visits were voided. Many of the advisers were visited twice, some even three times. By choosing this split of advisers, we do not need to make the distinction between commission-based and fee-based advisers as the market does this for us. It was our understanding that all IFAs must now offer the option of paying by fees or commission. Therefore, as roughly half of the advisers were independent, half were at liberty to charge fees for their advice. In our research budget, we have a contingency allowing for the fact that the IFAs might charge a fee. Several did and they were paid. We have always paid a fee if one is requested. Our prime concern when carrying our research of this type is to recreate the experience of the average consumer fairly and without bias. The pity was that in this research, independent advisers fared little better than commission-based ones so perhaps the problem with poor-quality financial advice goes deeper than how advisers get paid. It certainly does for consumers. Teresa Fritz Principal Researcher Which? Money Research Group London, NW1
GE Money Home Lending has announced a suite of enhancements to its Igroup product range. They include over 140 rate reductions, with reversionary rate reductions of up to 0.35 per cent, reduced fixed rates starting from 4.39 per cent and reduced discounted rates of up to 0.35 per cent.The lender will also provide criteria which […]
A Surrey IFA has set up two internet sites which claim to provide full online advice without the need for face-to-face meetings. Churchouse Financial Planning says most websites claiming to offer online advice only give information and clients are then required to make an appointment with an adviser. The advicemadesimple.com and pensionsmadesimple.com websites say they […]
IMA chief executive Richard Saunders told the summit that the debate over means testing and the structure of the NPSS was merely a distraction and the focus should be on creat-ing a high-quality default fund. Saunders told delegates: “People who are talking about the structure of means testing in 2050 are wasting their time. We […]
Tenet is redesigning its application forms so clients can buy both mortgage and protection products by filling in a single form. The firm says it wants to encourage IFAs to write business from areas which they may be not be focusing on. Chief executive Simon Hudson says he is also concerned that advisers writing mortgage […]
As the Pensions Regulator starts to bare its teeth and the changes mentioned in the Budget and Queen’s Speech start to come into force, it is essential that you understand your scheme and the processes you need to undertake to ensure it remains compliant. Our second re-enrolment guide looks at how to audit the key areas of your auto-enrolment scheme.
- Top trends
News and expert analysis straight to your inboxSign up
Latest from Money Marketing
Workplace savings and pensions business Punter Southall Aspire is to acquire Oxford-based IFA Focus Oxford as it outlines its ambition to set up a national advice service. The acquisition is part of the firm’s plan to integrate its retail advisory arm and corporate business. Focus Oxford has £200m of assets under management and the deal […]
Several independent boards of Baillie Gifford’s investment trust clients have written to the FCA about concerns with new Priips key information document rules. Baillie Gifford’s concerns relate to disclosure rules for the documents. It says these are based on past performance and could lead to investors being misled. Baillie Gifford compliance and legal partner Graham Laybourn […]
Are personal or employer contributions best?