The day-to-day business practices of almost every IFA in the UK are being challenged by the Treasury-sponsored Sandler review.
In his “consultation” document, the former Lloyd's of London chief Ron Sandler has questioned just about everything advisers do.
The two “observations” – IFAs might argue they are accusations – of most concern are IFAs' lack of investment knowledge and that commission may be skewing the market to the detriment of consumers.
The paper also asks whether both commission and fees should be capped.
There is also unwritten implication that regulation is skewed in IFAs' favour.
The review's potential should not be underestimated. The final draft went straight to the top of the Government for approval. Chancellor Gordon Brown, when he turns his eyes on the IFA industry, however fleetingly, may not like what he sees or what he thinks he sees.
The real worry is the consultation is so widely drawn that it could be used as an excuse for almost anything. Many of the questions asked are so open to debate as to be almost impossible to answer.
The review will still run into the barrier that the public will not pay fees for advice and at least Sandler acknowledges this.
IFAs must respond to many of these accusations, however unfair they feel the terms of reference to be.
Of course, the report could could be kicked into the long grass just like Don Cruickshank's review of banking. On the other hand for IFAs, it might just turn out to be the review to end all reviews.