AIFA director Robert Sinclair has raised concerns about simplified advice, suggesting it could lead the industry into some ‘very strange places'post-RDR.
The issue was brought up at an Aviva roundtable event, where the insurer explained how it was working on its own simplified advice proposition.
Although the FSA is still working on guidance in the area, Sinclair said he was worried about the potential for an unlevel playing field where commission and level 3 qualifications might still be suitable for some advice.
He said: "If we don't get engaged on the debate I think we'll end up in some very strange places very quickly that will probably deconstruct our industry in a way that makes RDR look like nothing we have ever seen before."
However, Dean Lamble, Aviva's distribution development director, insists simplified advice would not be designed to complete with the IFA channel, but would instead cater to consumers who cannot afford independent financial advice.
He said: "We are really concerned how to get so-called engaged advice with the mass-market.
"Our view of simplified advice would be to have a process where it is very tightly regulated, where it is web-enabled and delivered with some of facilitator helping guide someone through that process.
"That is not for everybody, but for people for whom the product doesn't justify a full advice process."
He added the firm had put together a prototype of a simplified advice service which it is now testing, although development is still at an early stage.
Aviva also presented its latest research into the IFA market, with its Hot Issues Tracker showing changing regulations and poor market conditions continue to be the main challenges.
Asked how they would target clients going forward, 63% of the 288 IFA respondents said they will segment clients and deal with everyone while 23% said they would drop lower value clients to focus on profitable ones.
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