Martin Wheatley, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has admitted to concerns about some of the effects the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) has had on the adviser community, and said the regulator will look into the reduction of supply of advice for lower earning customers.
At a Treasury Committee hearing this morning, Wheatley (pictured) said a reduction in numbers of advisers in the retail space was a concern and the FCA was aware that some people below a certain portfolio threshold were not getting the same level of service as before RDR.
There are several thousand fewer advisers operating in the UK today compared with three years ago, though recent figures suggested numbers were replenishing somewhat.
Wheatley admitted that "the professionalisation of the industry was a success" and the "removal of product bias was a huge success" of RDR.
However he added: "I do think there are some issues with the withdrawal [of bank advice] from the mass market...You can question how much was advice before or just sales dressed up as advice, but nonetheless people below a certain size portfolio [have less access]."
He said there was a particular concern that people with portfolios of below £50,000-£100,000 were not getting "the same level of service". "We will continue to look into that", he said.
However, he also said it was encouraging to see the early stages of web-based innovation which could be helping to bridge the gap.
MP Mark Garnier last week said MPs will conduct an independent review into RDR next year, which would have a particular focus on the effect of the ban on commission.
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