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PFS hits back at FCA in defence of IFAs

The chief executive of the Personal Finance Society has hit back at the FCA’s chief executive Martin Wheatley after the latter claimed in a speech to the Worshipful Company of International Bankers in early March that advisers must “make the cultural changes stick before memories of the financial crisis fade”.

According to Mr Richards, Mr Wheatley said the financial services industry had “the narrowest of windows in which to take advantage”.

But Mr Richards claimed the fact that a “significantly greater than predicted” number of qualified advisers remained in the market 15 months after RDR was implemented was not “simply down to their resilience” and he said it deserved “positive recognition”.

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He said: “The advice profession wholeheartedly recognises the opportunity to evolve and is seriously committed to securing and justifying public confidence and trust as a profession, as well as on an individual basis.”

He said this was demonstrated by the fact just 1 per cent of complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service related to intermediated advice while less than half were upheld.

Mr Richards added: “The adviser community fully appreciates the need to maintain the momentum of positive change, seeing it as a chance to shape the way the profession is perceived in the future.”

However, Mr Richards acknowledged there was more to be done and said: “There is little to gain from burying our heads in the sand or responding defensively.”

He added that “poor cultural perception” had not been helped by the “fragmented and disparate nature of the industry in the past”.

The PFS recently announced its 4,000th chartered individual member and confirmed that 600 firms now hold chartered status.