Yorkshire Building Society commits to advice

The society’s head of insurance and sales operations said it would ensure that advice on investments remained an option for all of its customers, adding: “Financial advice should be available to everyone.”

Yorkshire Building Society, and its sister brands the Chelsea Building Society, Barnsley Building Society and the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, are also extending the range of investment options available for experienced investors who may not want advice.

The commitment follows the high-profile departure of several banks from the advisory arena during the run-up to the retail distribution review, such as Santander, Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Halifax, with Mr Fowler claiming it left many customers “with nowhere to turn”.

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Customers will be able to access products from YBS’s partner Legal & General throughout its branch network on either an advice or information-only basis for more experienced investors.

Martin Shaw, chief executive of the Association of Financial Mutuals, said: “Any organistaion prepared to focus on an advice provision for the mass market when there is clearly a gap in what is available should be welcomed, and it’s encouraging that it is the mutuals who are generally doing this.”

Adviser view

David Gibson, director of Northern Ireland-based Gibson Financial Planning, said: “Historically our firm has competed against banks and building societies when it comes to advising customers, and to me the advice they charge is quite expensive.

“However it would be a shame for them all to leave the market, as it would leave a lot people disenfranchised and with no access to any sort of financial advice, so what YBS is doing has to be a good thing.”