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MetLife wants lighter touch adviser regulation

MetLife wants lighter touch adviser regulation

More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of advisers surveyed by MetLife reckon the cost of providing advice outweighs the returns.

A total of 52 per cent of advisers polled by MetLife warned that regulatory barriers and risk of providing advice are the main reasons preventing them helping mass market savers.

During November, the firm commissioned 1,027 online interviews with consumers across the UK, in addition to 101 online interviews with financial advisers, with the former poll finding one in three savers believe the cost of advice is too high and 31 per cent believe they do not need advice.

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This applies to both older and younger savers, with half of over-65s believing they do not need advice and 28 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 saying they do not know how to access advice.

MetLife’s response to the Financial Advice Market Review suggested reforms of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy for advisers and streamlining the Financial Ombudsman Service would help reduce costs, also recommending reasonable and proportionate time-limits on Fos claims.

These issues have been raised by other providers and industry groups, with the Association of Professional Financial Advisers most vociferously calling on the regulator and government to reform the FSCS levy and Fos claims process.

Dominic Grinstead, managing director of MetLife UK, said it is clear the current environment is not serving the best interests of the less well-off.

He said: “The lighter touch model would be equally robust in terms of ensuring that the best possible outcomes are achieved for customers, but crucially it would be designed to be appropriate for the needs that the mass market are more likely to face.

“Consumers have varying needs and for those with less sophisticated investment needs, a simpler advice model may be more appropriate. This in turn, would benefit from a proportional, lighter touch regulatory framework, which would reduce costs and make advice more easily accessible.”

MetLife also recommended pensions and how to access financial advice should be included in schools’ financial curriculum, along with changes to make it easier for employers to offer financial advice in the workplace.

peter.walker@ft.com