The director of Shropshire-based Shropshire Independent Financial Services said the FCA must embark on a campaign to raise public awareness of adviser qualifications, and in particular the time and dedication it takes to attain chartered status.
Ms Heaversedge, herself a chartered planner, said the FCA had done little to teach the public how to distinguish between qualified advisers and “con artists”.
She cited the high-profile legal action pursued by football manager Sven-Göran Eriksson against his former financial adviser as an example of how consumers can fail to ask the right questions of their advisers.
Ms Heaversedge said: “I question how much the FCA has spent on educating the public at large about advisers’ qualifications. If you survey the advice-seeking population of the UK, I think you’d find that very few check the FCA register to see if an adviser appears, and few know whether they are getting into unregulated investments or not as a result of picking the wrong person.
“What is the point of improving all our qualifications, and why did I spend all that time and energy getting chartered status, if I’m going to sit alongside unqualified chancers in the public’s eye? The FCA has got to give the public some clues on what to choose when picking an adviser.”
FCA right to reply
A spokesman for the FCA said: “In the run-up to the introduction of the RDR the FSA ran a consumer awareness campaign, with the aim of letting the public know what changes were happening and how they might be affected.
“Much of this was aimed specifically at explaining the difference between independent and restricted advice.”