The last thing the financial services industry needs is yet another consultation document to read...
The last thing the financial services industry needs is yet another consultation document to read, but for once it may be worth taking the time to digest and respond to the Government's proposals aimed at tackling child poverty.
Although the Government has been accused of using the 'baby bonds' proposal as part of its election campaign, the document released last Thursday raises some interesting issues and, if you are not too cynical, gives the impression that the Government may actually have grown a conscience.
The most compelling argument for launching a consultation about baby bonds is the feeling this one idea may be the chance to build bridges in all directions between the Government, the financial services sector, the FSA and the consuming public, and finally improve the public image of financial services firms.
The biggest problem for the financial services sector, as we all know, is consumer apathy. This document suggests sensible ways to combat negative sentiment such as adding financial education to the school curriculum, using the FSA as a marketing tool AND still retains that IFAs are the best method of advice delivery.
Admittedly, there will be concerns about proposals to have the FSA marketing financial services to consumers - it could be seen as contradictory to ask the regulator to also market the industry.
But this could also be a chance for IFAs to clean up their public image and in turn improve business potential. One way of improving that image might be to ask IFAs to spare one or two hours a month to help with some of that school education, as product providers have suggested in the past.
Instead of complaining that the Government doesn't listen to its concerns, the IFA sector should turn this into a positive process and take this chance to show what they could offer to plans for the improvement of public education on financial services.
If you have comments about this article or anything else on IFAonline, contact the editor, Julie Henderson at: [email protected]
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