IFAs should be responsible for delivering the free Generic Financial Advice (GFA) service, according to the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB).
Citing the success of its recent generic advice trial with 30 IFAs, the CAB says there is a need for a national GFA provision and argues advisers are ideally suited to carry it out.
Current plans for GFA will see consumers have access to advice on the more straightforward aspects of financial services, such as how to open a bank account.
Proposals suggested in the Thoresen Review of Generic Financial Advice will see trained individuals, not IFAs, offering the service either online, face-to-face or by telephone.
But the CAB says IFAs might have to be prepared to take on the extra workload if the scheme is to be delivered effectively.
A partnership between national charity Citizens Advice and the Personal Finance Society, 400 clients took part in the ‘Moneyplan’ trial, which identified the issues discussed in general advice.
The trial acknowledged mortgages (including equity release), pensions, investments, and insurance (principally life insurance) as the topics clients most need guidance on.
“The results so far of partnering Citizens Advice Bureaux with Independent Financial Advisers in the Moneyplan project indicate both that there is a need for a national Generic Financial Advice service, and that this is an effective model for delivering it,” Citizens Advice partnership development head Jackie Nowell says.
“The range of issues presented to the IFAs is broad, but it appears that there is particular demand from those who may own their own homes, but have low incomes.
“This evidence emphasises that there is a gap in provision which needs to be addressed.”
The CAB says 71% of enquirers were aged over 50, 46% were living alone or couples without dependent children, 31% owned their own home outright, 48% had a mortgage and 55% had a household income of less than £1000 per month.
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