Standards in financial advice ought to rise but consumers also need a mixture of standards to access...
Standards in financial advice ought to rise but consumers also need a mixture of standards to access, rather than a huge increase in financial planners, says SOFA.
While consumers would benefit from a higher level of financial advice, it would not be necessary for advisers to go through CFP-specific training because so many intermediaries already adopt methods used by financial planner, says Nick Bamford, chairman of the Society of Financial Advisers (SOFA), in response to proposals laid out by the AITC to create 10,000 financial planners in 10 years.
"It is interesting to look at the issue of training standards because of the already diverse needs of the financial services industry. If you look at distribution, as this is what we - the IFAs - are, there are already several levels of professionally qualified advisers," says Bamford.
"I think we need to raise the standards in financial advice, but it is wrong to suggest that there are only 300 financial planners giving holistic advice. There may be only 300 Certified Financial Planners, but there are thousands of advisers using holistic planning practices" adds Bamford.
While a higher standard of advice and processing might be beneficial in some respects, Bamoford says SOFA is also concerned about whether or not this will increase access to financial advice.
At present, it tends only to be the wealthier consumer who can afford to use an intermediary adopting holistic planning practices, even though it might be people at the other end of the financial spectrum who need the most help but can't afford it.
"Anyone who stands up and recommends improvements in standards has to consider the needs of consumers, because a consumers wants low prices and some of the people that the government wants to receive advice cannot afford to pay the fees which come with higher level advice," continues Bamford
"More and more workplace activities are helping to solve the shortage of affordable advice to all consumers to give their employees access to that advice. And it is this that we need to see most of all," he adds.
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