2011: Miss Representation – Newsom
Financial advice is either independent or it isn’t, by which the new terminology is “restricted”. Independent is not fifty shades of grey, you cannot be a little bit pregnant or a little bit dead, you cannot be a little bit independent. I can certainly agree that some of the 2013 restricted advisers may be very good indeed, after all every adviser has to achieve a minimum standard of qualifications. However, it seems a little odd that one might chose to be “restricted” as opposed to independent in my opinion. Clients admittedly may not always mention the importance of independence, but frankly I believe they simply expect it. Those that chose to seek advice from a bank or insurance company really should be aware that the advice they receive is very limited indeed, some people still don’t recognise this, but then they are probably not the sort of people that really understand the importance of good financial planning. The lack of knowledge on this issue is due to a failure on the part of the regulator, media, government, financial services generally and quite obviously financial advisers and those that claim to represent them.
Today the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) has announced that they intend to change their name to Association of Professional Financial Advisers. This signals their clear intention to “represent” both independent and restricted advisers. Sadly, I don’t feel that they have done a very good job to date representing IFAs so I’m sending off my application to the IFA Centre, to have the case for independent advice represented at Government, Regulator and European levels. I believe, like the IFA Centre that clients want and deserve proper independent financial advice, I would go a step further and suggest they they also want and deserve proper financial planning – which is in my view the only good way to make any financial plan meaningful.
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