Regulation  

IFAs cannot help reverse the decline in savings: BlackRock

The chairman of BlackRock’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division said he was worried regulation was headed down a track that is “all about the past”, pinpointing RDR as a “flawed” measure to encourage people to seek face-to-face advice.

He made the comments at a Tax Incentivised Savings Association conference in London, which was used to launch an ambitious campaign to put savings at the forefront of the political agenda before next year’s general election.

He said: “I have concerns that regulation is focused on re-regulating the past. The next generation of savers are not going to put their money to work in the same way that previous generations did. That is the flaw in RDR – it is trying to force people to take advice, make an appointment with someone, have a cup of tea in a smokey room, so that advisers can generate an invoice.

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“Actually, the next generation want to access savings products in a completely different way. They will use technology, doing things online that previous generations would never have dreamt of.”

He added that the industry has “let savers down” as it lobbied for its own interests and introduced a “forest” of complexity into the savings landscape.

Mr Charrington said: “The industry creates huge amounts of complexity because we’re all trying to be clever and grow our business. It loses the connection with people we serve. A savings pot should be something we can read on one sheet of paper but people are snowed under with information that is simply covering our backs.”

He added that regulation is moving away from “encouraging individual responsibility”, letting consumers believe that “someone else will always take the blame if anything goes wrong”.

Speaking later in the day, Michelle Cracknell, chief executive officer of the Pensions Advisory Service, said employers needed to refer members more readily to the organisation’s helpline, as people will not make “the second step” towards professional financial advice when recommended in literature.

Adviser view

Kim Barrett, director of Hertfordshire-based Barretts Financial Solutions, said: “I do not know what planet this guy is on.

“We cannot help out every Tom, Dick and Harry and we have to make money, so RDR has created a void for low-net-worth clients. But when I look at our clients and how they react to our wealth management service, they like face-to-face advice.”