Just 17 financial services professionals applied to be members of the expert panel tasked with helping shape the Financial Advice Market Review, of which one small-town IFA was rejected.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by FTAdviser revealed 17 people had applied to be on the expert panel, which was finally made up of 16 individuals from across the finance sector.
One of these was Daniel Elkington, independent financial adviser at Lincolnshire-based Chattertons Solicitors.
But the body governing the creation of the panel, the FAMR Secretariat, rejected his application.
Nick Prettejohn, chairman of Scottish Widows, was in charge of selecting the 16 members for the panel, which sought to cover a cross-section of the industry representing the supply side (firms) and the demand side (customers) of the financial advice market.
Mr Elkington said he was surprised and confused to learn he was seemingly the only person turned down for the voluntary role.
“Presumably they decided not to go for the small-town IFA,” he said. “Perhaps I wasn’t considered important enough”.
The stated aim of the panel was to provide background guidance to the FAMR team on the advice market and the way it is shaped by current business practices, customer needs and regulation.
It also had the responsibility of challenging and acting as a sounding board on specific themes relevant to the review and the final recommendations, which were published today (14 March) to criticism from some advisers.
Dr Robin Keyte of Keyte Financial Planners is the only individual on the panel currently working as a financial adviser.
Mr Elkington said he contacted the FCA after seeing the panel opportunity on the regulator’s website. But he criticised the body for failing to advertise the position more widely.
He suggested more advisers would have applied to be on board had the FCA promoted it through professional bodies such as Cisi and the Chartered Insurance Insutitute.
“If it’s a panel that is going to decide the future of financial advice then it should have included a decent proportion of advisers, particularly those who have client contact,” he said, describing the make-up of the panel as “unbalanced”.
Mr Elkington initially wrote to the co-chair of the FAMR, director general of financial services at HM Treasury Charles Roxburgh, last August to express his interest in being a member of the panel.
In an email seen by FTAdviser, Mr Roxburgh said he would forward on his request to Mr Prettejohn, adding: “There have been many volunteers and Nick faces quite a challenge in assembling a panel of manageable size that reflects the wide range of stakeholder view and expertise that he will need to draw on.”
Mr Elkington said he only found out he wasn’t on the panel when it was announced publicly in November.
Afterwards, he met the FAMR Secretariat in London for an informal hour-long “chat” where he said he was told what respondents had been saying in the consultation and asked to air some of his thoughts.