Expecting IFAs to provide the free Generic Financial Advice (GFA) service is "totally unrealistic", AIFA claims.
AIFA deputy director general Fay Goddard says although the trade body understands the need for GFA, advisers are not best placed to carry out the service.
Goddard was speaking in response to the Citizens Advice Bureaux, which yesterday claimed its recent Moneyplan trial showed advisers are the ideal option for GFA.
However, while Goddard says a nationwide rollout of Moneyplan could work if huge amounts of resources and funds were in place, she believes this sort of program is simply impractical.
“We fully support Moneyplan and accept that there is a need for generic advice, but you have to remember the people in this trial were all fully qualified advisers at the top of their profession,” she says.
“The money Otto Thoresen proposed for the service is just a drop in the ocean for something like this.”
Goddard says the GFA system could be in the form of a call centre or similar operation, but stressed the need for qualified people to take the helm.
“We don’t want to see graduates with no industry experience giving out information, because that would not beneficial for anyone,” she says.
“Maybe people who are retired from the industry can play a part, many of which are involved in Citizens Advice at the moment.”
Goddard would also like the GFA name changed, to avoid consumer confusion.
“It is not advice and if it was called a ‘money information education service’ or something similar it would be clearer for people,” she says.
“The goal is to get a system in place where a person who needs help can talk to someone, find out what they need or be referred to an adviser who can provide a more specialist service if need be.
“What is important is to continue doing pilots such as this (Moneyplan) to find out what works and what doesn’t, and to work out a system which takes the best bits of all of them.”
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