A financial adviser snubbed from the panel which helped shape the Financial Advice Market Review has written to the co-chair to demand answers over why he was rejected.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by FTAdviser revealed 17 people had applied to be on the expert panel, which was comprised of 16 individuals from across the financial services industry.
Daniel Elkington, independent financial adviser at Lincolnshire-based Chattertons Solicitors, had applied to HM Treasury to ask to be on the expert panel, only to discover he was not a member when the list was publicly announced in November.
He wrote to the director general of financial services at HM Treasury Charles Roxburgh late last month to air his disappointment, which centred on his concern over whether the members had much experience dealing directly with consumers.
Responding to Mr Elkington’s complaint last week, the FAMR co-chair said the 17 applications mentioned in the FOI were received by the Financial Conduct Authority directly, and did not include representations made to HM Treasury or those made to the chair of the panel Nick Prettejohn, who made the final decision on membership.
In an email seen by FTAdviser, Mr Roxburgh disputed whether Mr Elkington had been given a fair chance to contribute.
In fact said he was given a “good opportunity” to provide his views, Mr Roxburgh said, adding the review had “engaged extensively” with a wide range of stakeholders.
He also pointed out FAMR had received 65 responses from IFAs and the FCA had conducted a survey as part of the review involving 223 firms, including 129 firms with two or fewer advisers.
“I would like to assure you that individuals with an advisory background were involved,” he said, pointing out that Robin Keyte is a director of a financial planning firm, Gill Cardy has practised as a financial adviser, and Richard Freeman is the chief executive of the financial adviser network Intrinsic.
“Tracey [McDermott] and I are confident, as chairs of the review, that the views and ideas of financial advisers were appropriately considered.”
But Mr Elkington probed Mr Roxburgh further by saying he had still failed to address why he and many other applications from advisers had not taken priority when considering the panel membership.
He suggested the Personal Finance Society and the adviser community should have taken the lead on forming the panel, rather than the chairman of a life company, and disagreed there was a balance of output from the review.
“Not one of the 28 suggestions look at advice standards and this concept of independence,” the IFA stated.
“It is an absolute farce that we allow biased professionals to advise people on their money. If the legal or medical professions showed similar levels of bias there would be a national scandal and outrage.
“It is unbelievable that our regulator is actively encouraging more biased advice through FAMR to fill advice gaps.”