After months of campaigning, tonight is the eagerly awaited RDR debate in the House of Commons. But should you bother watching?
Who has called the debate and why?
Tory MPs Harriett Baldwin and Mark Garnier have called the debate which amazingly will be the first time the RDR has been debated in the House of Commons. The full debate follows a heated half hour private members' debate in Westminster Hall to discuss the impact of the RDR on access to quality advice to consumers. For many new MPs, this is the first time they may have heard of the RDR and the huge changes facing IFAs.
What will be discussed?
It will be the biggies: commission and qualifications. Baldwin suggested advisers should be able to list their existing qualifications on their business cards, and leave it up to the consumer to decide whether to accept advice from that 'unqualified' IFA.
She also said the banning of commission would mean higher costs enforced on the end consumer, as compliance costs are estimated to be potentially as high as £1.7bn.
The subject of grandfathering is also bound to come up as will a potential threat to the number of advisers in rural areas post-2012.
Who cares about this debate?
A huge number of MPs and thousands of IFAs. Baldwin said she had received "unprecedented correspondence" on the impact of the RDR in her constituency from IFAs with "unblemished" track records and years of experience.
Baldwin's office says the correspondence from IFAs "has not stopped" since last month's debate and IFAonline has also forwarded on the many questions and comments we have received to Baldwin and her team.
What is the point of debating the RDR now?
Unfortunately this debate is coming just two years before the introduction of the RDR and well into the transition period for many adviser firms.
However, there are still many areas of concern for advisers about the outcome of the changes for their businesses and their clients. These concerns are shared by MPs, many of whom were unaware of the changes, and even the Treasury Select Committee is now investigating this issue.
If the right issues are highlighted tonight, there may be a chance of some changes to the final review although commentators agree scrapping the RDR completely seems unlikely.
Who will be the heroes?
Undoubtedly Harriett Baldwin is advisers' knight in shining armour for calling the debate in the first place, along with Mark Garnier. We also expect a huge turnout of MPs and advisers in the public gallery so there could be some surprise stars tonight.
And the villain?
This has got to be Mark 'Ronald McDonald' Hoban, financial secretary to the Treasury, after his now infamous comments about advisers being no more qualified than fast food workers. He seems staunchly in favour of the RDR going through as it currently stands, but if the arguments are compelling enough he may be forced to take another look.
Why should I listen?
Whether you are pro- or anti-RDR you need to listen in tonight to hear what MPs think of you and your profession. The RDR has polarised opinion but all advisers are agreed on the need to protect the end consumer as well as the advisory community post-2012.
This is biggest debate on financial advice for many years in the Commons and the first on the RDR. Come on, with the storms raging outside there won't be much else for you to be doing.
How can I get involved?
The debate is tabled for this evening at around 7.30pm in the main chamber of the House of Commons. You can watch the debate from the comfort of your living room HERE.
IFAonline will also be running a LIVE BLOG with all the action as it happens. We welcome your comments so please add your take on events to the blog. We will also be tweeting @IFAonlineUK. See you later for what promises to be a fascinating evening.
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