Critics of proposals in the RDR are in danger of losing sight of its chief objective - building consumer trust in the industry, according to Axa Winterthur Wealth Management (AWWM).
CEO Mike Kellard says "too many" commentators have focused on challenging the merits of the Review and the potential ramifications of a Conservative government being elected.
He points to Axa research suggesting 80% of UK consumers are not doing anything about managing their long-term investments, and says the RDR is giving providers and advisers the opportunity to "dramatically" reduce this figure.
"I am concerned recent debate shows a distracted industry taking its eyes off the goal," Kellard says.
"It is time to stop navel-gazing and think about the end consumer. Yes, the RDR is imperfect, but it represents a fantastic opportunity to transform our industry into a trusted and reputable profession, which places customer service at the heart of the offer."
The Retail Distribution Review, a final consultation on which was published last month, suggests splitting the advice market between ‘independent' and ‘restricted' advisers, raising the minimum qualification requirements and changing the way consumers pay for advice.
According to Kellard, trepidation over the potential for adviser charging to limit advice is "understandable", but he says "creative" solutions can be found through channels such as wrap and bancassurance.
"Many advisers are already adapting to the new environment, and a new landscape in which newcomers enter a ‘profession' rather than an ‘industry' will only instill confidence and increase the number of consumers seeking financial advice, which may also attract a new style adviser into the industry," he says.
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