Regulation  

Baldwin promises review to deliver high quality advice

Baldwin promises review to deliver high quality advice

HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority have now officially launched the joint consultation exploring what can be done to improve customers’ access to financial advice.

Representing the first major milestone of the Financial Advice Market Review, it will focus on the following questions.

• What kind of financial advice do consumers want?

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• Are there gaps between the financial advice that consumers want, and the financial advice that they can access and afford?

• How can these gaps be closed?

• What role could technology, such as ‘robo-advice’, play in improving access to financial advice?

The review is being led by the Treasury’s director general for financial services Charles Roxburgh and the FCA’s acting chief executive Tracey McDermott.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said that helping people achieve their aspirations at every stage of their lives is at the heart of our long term plan.

“A key part of that is making sure that people can access high quality, affordable, tailored advice and guidance to help them make informed financial decisions.

“That is why we are exploring what more can be done to make sure consumers can access high quality and affordable advice so they can make informed decisions with their hard-earned money.”

Ms McDermott commented the review is a chance for the regulator, government, industry and consumers to deliver a market that meets the need for accessible and affordable advice.

Nick Prettejohn, chair of the expert advisory panel, added: “It is vital that the financial advice market meets the needs of consumers to enable them to make informed financial decisions at all stages of their life.”

The consultation will be open until 22 December, with a final report published ahead of Budget 2016.

The initial evidence gathering will have a broad scope, before narrowing down to consider those areas where the advice gap may be most acute.

The review was first announced at the start of August, and will include an examination of the interplay between the regulatory framework for advice and the role of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in redress.

Also under the spotlight will be the opportunities and challenges presented by new and emerging technologies, along with exploring how to encourage a healthy demand side, including addressing barriers which put consumers off seeking advice.

peter.walker@ft.com