Consumer groups must give the public a balanced view of financial services or they risk doing large numbers a disservice, Keith Richards believes.
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) chief executive said its ‘Uniting the Profession' initiative had received good feedback from consumer groups but said they also had a role to play in improving the public perception of financial advice.
He explained: "The risk is that if they are not providing balanced information they run the risk of doing a disservice to people who otherwise might have done the right thing. Even one case can tarnish the whole profession and can be reported without proportion.
"We are not simply trying to push positive stories. There will be times when outcomes are not good, but there consumer groups need to provide balance to serve the public better. There needs to be recognition that they have a public duty and need to be more balanced in the way information is disseminated."
He said good financial planning was essential to an ageing population and would likely become a necessity for many, and so the reputation of the profession must be improved.
"We want to raise consumer awareness of the benefits of professional financial advice."
Elsewhere, Richards (pictured) said a professionalism drive had gained further momentum with the addition of Panacea Adviser, New Model Business Academy and a number of national and regional advice firms agreeing to the Consumer Confidence declaration.
The declaration aims to improve the external perception of the industry through increased levels of professionalism.
Richards said: "I respect that there may of course be individuals who do not feel that there is a public trust issue, but perhaps they will respect the strength of feeling among their peers and consider the wider benefits of displaying professionalism, especially when voicing an alternative opinion. It is only a united professional culture that will have the biggest impact for positive change."
Panacea Adviser chief executive Derek Bradley added: "This campaign absolutely merits our involvement. I know advisers can be very contrary and often scathing about the advice their peers in other firms give, especially when they may have no knowledge at all of what led to a particular advice situation but we believe that knocking the advice of others, something we are seeing more and more of lately, is damaging to the ongoing health of the advice profession."
To find out more about the campaign, visit: www.thepfs.org/confidence
FCA consultation response
MoneyLens to be edited by former Mail on Sunday journalist Vicki Owen