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‘Big Mac’ MP to stand down as MP

‘Big Mac’ MP to stand down as MP

A former minister who notoriously said adviser qualifications were equivalent to a McDonald’s diploma will stand down from parliament in May.

Mark Hoban, who was financial secretary to the Treasury between May 2010 and September 2012, has announced he will not be contesting his seat of Fareham, Hampshire, at this year’s general election.

Writing to the chairman of his local Conservative association, Mr Hoban said: “This has been a difficult decision but the right one. It is time to turn a new page and take on some new challenges.

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“I found my 11 years on the front bench in both opposition and government challenging and rewarding.

“During my time as financial secretary to the Treasury, I am particularly proud of the work I led to restructure financial services regulation in the UK in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”

In 2010, in a debate on the potential effects of the retail distribution review, Mr Hoban caused an outcry when he said: “The current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s.

“The products being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and more long-lasting in their effect than a Big Mac.”

In November last year, Mr Hoban told delegates at the Tisa conference that the government’s pension freedom reforms would only go so far in kick-starting a saving habit.

He told delegates there was a gap in support for people who did not feel they could afford an IFA, and that he was pushing for digital technology to form a retirement savings service.

Adviser view

David Penny, managing director of Somerset-based Invest Southwest, said: “If he made those comments in 2010 he probably wasn’t too far from the truth because the basic exams were pretty low level back then.”