Financial advisers and regulators around the world are looking to the UK's Retail Distribution Review (RDR) as the model to follow for good practice, according to Phil Billingham.
Billingham, who has been travelling the globe consulting on regulatory change in financial services with the venture he set up last June - the Phil Billingham Partnership -, said the rest of the world is learning from the successes and the mistakes of the UK's RDR in implementing changes to their own systems.
"The rest of the world is saying: 'we want higher qualifications for our advisers and to get rid of commission, but we don't want to drive financial advice upmarket only'," he said.
"From South Africa to Ireland to Thailand to India, regulators are in the business of turning financial advice into financial planning and making financial planning firms run like proper businesses."
Billingham said the financial services regulator in India has given its market three months to move to a new model of no commission and higher financial qualifications. By comparison, the UK's RDR - implemented on 1 January this year - was six years in the making.
In Ireland, financial planners are the ones driving the changes, Billingham said. "The Irish have seen the UK market and the Australian market develop and they are clear that that's the model they want to move to.
"The UK experience is not looked at as perfect, and they want to avoid some of the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) mistakes - some of the technical changes, for example, and the fact that we are still awaiting the platform paper.
"But, essentially, advisers are talking about the same issues in Johannesburg and Bangkok as they are in Bath."
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