The Personal Finance Society has written to its members urging them to get involved in its project with the Citizens' Advice Bureau to provide generic financial advice on a volunteer basis.
Advisers who are IFAs or whole of market and are qualified to at least the DipPFS level can volunteer to help raise the level of financial capability of the average member of the public in their community.
The project – to be known as ‘Moneyplan’ – follows a pilot in 2005 where the most successful advice model involved IFAs providing advice by appointment at the bureau premises, usually once a week.
Typical enquiries ranged from endowment policies and pension choices to translating the documents clients had received from financial companies. The CAB claims 79% of clients took action following the advice given.
The initial 2005 pilot - working with 244 consumers - was trialled in eight bureaus and looked at three advice models. The least successful model of the three was based on a generic advice software package used by CAB advisers and which was then checked by an IFA.
Jackie Nowell, head of national development at the CAB, says aligning with the PFS should ensure the quality of advice - and adviser - is appropriate to the needs of the client.
"We have decided to work with the Personal Finance Society because we have no way of assessing the motivations of the IFAs and they are well-placed to know who are the suitably-qualified IFAs,” says Nowell.
"But if an adviser thinks they are going to pick up vast amounts of business from this they are very much mistaken. There is little commercial gain to be had.
“We hope it will open their eyes to the needs of people and make them feel good about the help they are offering. We hope they would want to do something which shows IFAs in a good light and supporting consumers,” she adds.
While the aim of the project is to deliver generic advice to consumers, it is also anticipated the CAB is considering conducting some form of target marketing to see whether, for example, the adviser’s encouragement to bring a CTF voucher to the advice meeting will also get the parents to use it and increase take-up of CTF plans.
The CAB hopes this latest pilot - funded by Barclays and Aegon and the CAB – will produce an interim report by the autumn, on the success of the project and its workings, as this will feed into the Treasury’s study of financial capability and financial inclusion.
Advisers who are interested in volunteering in one of the 25 bureaus taking part in the programme should contact the PFS and an appointment will then be arranged with the local CAB manager.
Advisers will then need to attend a training session to ensure they understand the boundaries of generic advice.
Robert Reid, vice president of the PFS, says advisers who volunteer in the project will be helping to improve the sector’s image by donating valuable professional advice.
He adds: “The work in the previous pilot in 2005 resulted in significant good will for the PFS as a professional body, in much the same way that the Law Society’s position has been significantly enhanced by the similar work they have carried out over many years.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7034 2680 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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