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Trust low for advisers

Simon Read

Simon Read

Would you trust a journalist less than a financial adviser?

I expect most of you would say yes. You could point to the growth of ‘fake news’, or the obvious bias of the mainstream media, or even refer back to scandals such as the outrageous telephone hacking by some tabloids.

But what about the general public? Do you reckon they have a lower opinion of journalists than financial advisers?

They may agree with all your points, but will probably also mention the many scandals they have heard about crooked financial advisers.

Ask anyone in a pub about their experiences with financial advisers and they are much more likely to mention poor old aunt Doris, who lost tens of thousands to a crook, than their friend who has had their retirement income boosted by many years’ sensible guidance from a trusted money expert.

The point I am labouring to make is that there are as many misconceptions about financial advisers as there are about journalists.

I know that the majority of journalists aim to make the world a better place by shedding a light on sharp practices or dodgy dealings, or simply by informing and entertaining people with some sharply-written copy.

I am proud to be part of what I consider a noble profession.

Yet journalists remain among the least trusted people in the country.

In the latest Ipsos Mori Veracity Index – a report that records which professions the British public trusts – only 26 per cent said they think journalists tell the truth.

I find that saddening and shocking, but understand why the stock of journalists has fallen so low.

What about financial advisers? The research company did not ask about them. The closest profession in the index is bank managers.

Unsurprisingly they are not particularly highly thought of, with only 41 per cent of people trusting them.

And, sadly, I think financial advisers would score equally as poor.

Not that I equate them with bank staff, but I reckon many of the general public would regard them as similar, with several still turning to their bank for advice about their finances.

I have written here before about the problem that financial advisers have in the public eye. My view is that there needs to be a fresh education programme to raise people’s awareness of the value that financial advisers can offer.

But recent events suggest that politicians have a pretty low opinion of advisers, too.

Last week, Labour MP Ruth George spoke at a Work and Pensions Committee hearing on pension costs and transparency.

She is one of the better MPs and is consistently campaigning for important issues.

At the hearing, she spoke in some detail about the pension cold-calling ban, which came into effect in January to stop unscrupulous rogues targeting people with pension scams.