A report that describes the IFA brand as "irretrievably damaged" has been criticised by adviser trade association, the IFA Centre, which said the report's target was "simply wrong".
Titled Put the Saver First and written by pensions analyst Michael Johnson on behalf of the Centre for Policy Studies, the report argued that the lack of savings culture was in part a result of widespread enmity towards the financial services industry caused by its underperformance.
It concluded one way of addressing this would be for advisers to forget about 'advice' and focus instead on 'financial planning'. The IFA brand, Johnson argued has been "irretrievably damaged".
But Jill Cardy, managing director of the IFA Centre, said in response: "For someone with 21 years in investment banking, Mr Johnson is eminently well-qualified to identify irretrievably damaged brands.
"However, his target is simply wrong. The FSA's own research earlier this year demonstrated that consumers have a high degree of trust in their independent advisers, considerably less so in tied (soon to be known as restricted) advisers.
"Financial planning is a specific skill and whilst clients can find this approach hugely helpful, not everyone will see the need for, or value in, this type of service.
"What's more, even financial planners will eventually stray into providing regulated financial advice, and only independent advice is undoubtedly unbiased with the client's best interests at heart."
Other critics of the report included the Investment Management Association (IMA), which said some of its recommendations were based on inaccuracies.
The report argues for the publication of industry-standard Total Cost of Investment (TCI) details to tackle excess remuneration and low returns.
The TCI would include all up-front transaction costs and, crucially, see the bid-offer spread deducted as if it were a front-end charge. It said that the TCI should be included in the Disclosure Tables published by the IMA.
Chief executive Richard Saunders said: "Creating a positive long-term savings and pensions culture is of undoubted importance and while the report rightly focuses on some important issues, it also contains a worrying number of inaccuracies.
"These sorts of errors don't help the debate and risk misleading investors, causing them unnecessary concern and potentially undermining the long-term savings culture that we need."
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