Sometimes, when we talk about the need to preserve certain species, their value seems to be intrinsically linked to their rarity.
For example, the black rhinoceros had to reach a point of critical endangerment before society placed sufficient importance on their survival.
Given the recent news about the Financial Ombudsman Service’s compensation limit hike, we must all hope that the vital need for the services provided by advisers is recognised before they are pressured into a similarly endangered state.
Over the past decade, advisers have faced a number of huge challenges, including the Retail Distribution Review, and a regulatory burden that would have crippled a less resilient sector.
However, the increasingly unjust structures of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy and Fos limits, and the resulting impact upon professional indemnity costs, pose possibly the biggest threat of all.
The Financial Conduct Authority claims to be committed to improving consumer outcomes, but actions such as more than doubling the Fos limits are dangerous and counterproductive.
The regulator should hang its head in shame if the end result of its actions mirrors that of the surgeon who reported that the operation was a complete success, apart from the fact that the patient died.
When responding to the FCA’s consultation on Fos limits, I, and others, raised several points of serious concern.
Sadly, it seems that none of these points were properly considered, as the new Fos limits will be in place in less than a month.
Now, even companies that have spotless records are going to be faced with further unjustified increases in theirPI costs, despite a background of service that consistently demonstrates the unquestionable value of advice.
The benefits of advice are lauded by clients and the wider industry, yet it sometimes seems that the regulator will not be happy until it sees the adviser on the critically endangered list.
The demand and need for personal financial advice has never been greater, and needs to be made available to more people, not fewer.
The regulators have a responsibility to consumers, not only to protect them but also to ensure that advisers are able to continue to deliver vital services to them for many years to come, without having unjustified and unnecessary obstacles put in their path.
Ken Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz Group