RDR is a ‘watershed moment in time’: IFA

The incoming Retail Distribution Review is a “watershed moment in time” as it is a great opportunity for the new incoming regulators to engage and listen to the advisers who are left in the market post-RDR, Martin Evans, director of Newport-based Prism Independent Financial Advisers, said.

In an interview with FTAdviser, to be published later today (2 November), Mr Evans warned that the “constant threats”, professional indemnity insurance issues, retrospective judgements and the “ever present” claims management companies are “killing our industry”.

He said: “It is a very dangerous place to work, as one wrong decision will put you out of business.

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“If you are continually told all martians are thieves and whilst in a room with one or two martians present your wallet is stolen, what is your first thought?”

According to Mr Evans, for the last two decades consumers have been continually bombarded with negative news about financial services and particularly advisers.

He said: “All too often this has not been targeted at the real offenders....we all know who they are.

“Some of this has been justified in other quarters, especially around the events many years ago. However, in the main, those advisers left are the good advisers. We have stuck it out, become better qualified, raised our standards, become professionals and must be doing something right to still have clients and are in business after all the miss-selling scandals.”

Mr Evans has been in financial services for 32 years, and has seen the birth of the Financial Services Act, SIB, PIA, the FSA and now the incoming regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

He believes that the regulator, the government and the media should be helping to rebuild trust and assure consumers that advice is needed.

“Much has changed, the one thing that has not is consumers still need help and advice with their finances, and the government still needs the nation to engage in financial planning for the sack of the countries future prosperity.

“My biggest worry is that there are so few advisers left, if they actually did support us, and the nation understood the value of a good adviser we could not cope.

“RDR is a watershed moment in time, the new regulators have a fantastic opportunity. It is down to them now to engage and actually listen to the professionals that are left.

“Whilst there have to be rules, guidelines which have to be upheld and policed, it is not a healthy environment when all you hear is threats. Police effectively, punish the offenders, but engage with the good advisers to build something lasting, something tangible that benefits everyone.”