In Focus: 10 years of RDR  

Former editor Hal Austin: 'Chance to professionalise advice was missed'


The chance to make financial advice a true profession was missed by the Retail Distribution Review, says FTAdviser's former editor Hal Austin.

Austin, who was in charge of Financial Adviser, the print publication which later merged with FTAdviser, in 2012, when the RDR was introduced, says his journalists had campaigned heavily for making advice a profession that was equal to law and accounting.

But while the new regulation took steps towards this aim, it failed to go all the way, he adds.

Article continues after advert

"We argued... this very strongly," he says. "An IFA should have the status of a solicitor or an accountant and we were pressing very much for that kind of status."

But he says from a customer perspective things have not progressed as well they should have over the past 10 years.

"Lots of things have happened since then... including we are in a recession, we have all kinds of problems and so on and financial advice to households really is on the back burner.

"And I think that that's unfortunate because I thought at the time there were lots of discussions about universities and colleges and the post-1992 universities doing degrees in financial advice... I haven't seen any universities or colleges advertising their financial advice degrees.

"That's a step back and that's unfortunate because if you are going to introduce professionalism into the sector I think that you have to go the whole way."

To hear more about where opportunities to professionalise were missed, and the thinking amongst advisers and journalists at the time of the RDR, click on the link above.