Otto Thoresen has indicated a number of providers could be involved in the new generic advice service as a decentralised model is the most likely at this stage.
Speaking at savings conference in London, Thoresen gave his first indications of the outcome of his Review of Generic Financial Advice.
He says the new generic financial service’s structure would lie between a "monolith" approach (a single organisation providing all aspects of the service), a "decentralised" approach (consist of a small central body with an advisory, strategic and accreditation function, but with actual services delivered by external providers) or a hybrid option.
Thoresen said the Review has identified a strong feeling the new service needs to build on the existing infrastructure of public advice networks already established which seems to suggest the solution might be closer to the "decentralised" approach.
He says the service could form partnerships with commercial or not-for-profit organisations.
“Partners could benefit from increased traffic to and from their existing services, tailoring delivery to the clients and customers they already know, and new ones they want to help. The benefits to customers would be familiar brands, familiar locations and focussed expertise," he explains.
Thoresen says the service is unlikely to use the words "generic financial advice" in its strapline because "people may not necessarily understand what we mean by 'generic' and for the financial services industry the word 'advice' is too closely associated with FSA-regulated advice.
Thoresen urges the industry to engage in the pilots and discussions on funding. He says: "We are working on the basis that the cost of any new service will be shared between the Government and industry. The Review Terms of Reference say that funding recommendations should reflect the benefits to stakeholders of increasing financial capability over the long term. This is important - we are not appealing to altruism but to the business case for ensuring that people are empowered to make good financial decisions."
Thoresen says no decisions have yet been made on how funding mechanisms might work and who will be asked to contribute.
Clarifying the link between a generic financial advice service and the RDR, Thoresen says: "Some people have asked whether generic financial advice would provide a portal into 'primary advice.' It may be that a consumer will go on to seek a product solution after using the service. But they may equally decide that debt advice or another solution is right for them."
Thoresen intends to publish the review’s interim report in the autumn. He will publish the final report at the end of the year.
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