Consumers need proper education and advice if they are to increase their savings for the future, says Royal London Asset Management.
Furthermore, the government, the regulator and the media should also start to promote IFAs as a source for people to turn to, if the UK's savings gap is to diminish, the mutual deems.
Responding to the FSA's 'The Financial Risk Outlook 2004' out last week, which stated consumers must take responsibility for their finances, RLMA says this will not happen until people are made aware it is up to them to find means to provide for their future.
David Hughson, deputy CEO and head of sales & marketing at RLAM, says: “Telling people that they need to take responsibility for their finances is all very well, but attitudes do not change over-night and all the evidence available suggests that attitudes need to seriously change.
He continues: "There is a long-standing support system providing financial advice, the independent financial adviser (IFA) and yet the truly independent financial adviser is not being consistently promoted either by the Government, the regulator or the media as a resource that is available for consumers to turn to."
People are still taking the attitude that "do-it-yourself is best", Hughson says, even though evidence suggests that it isn’t. Without support, education and advice, the government can't expect consumers' disincentives to save to change.
Vivienne Starkey, managing director for Equal Partners IFA, believes consumer confidence comes from education.
She says: "The policy makers need to get across the need to save and consumers need to understand how products work to feel more confident.
Financial education would help people take control in the decision making process and move us away from the blame and compensation culture that we’re presently experiencing. Advisers need to work with their clients to help them understand what they have got, why they have it and what it is doing for them. Our role is to provide advice to clients who can then utilise that to help them achieve their aims."
If we continue to be seen as simply selling products we will not gain consumers confidence,” she adds.IFAonline
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