Financial Adviser’s letter-writing campaign to keep fees fair has generated a strong groundswell of support.
Letters have been sent out to dozens of MPs across Great Britain, but what have their responses been?
Silence. It is deafening. Most advisers, and Financial Adviser itself, have received automated acknowledgements.
One adviser was informed by his MP that the message was ‘being forwarded onto the Financial Conduct Authority’, which is helpfully like a member of staff complaining to the managing director about a bullying line manager, and the MD forwarding it onto the aforementioned manager to deal with.
So it is unsurprising to hear that one financial adviser has also encouraged his clients to write and complain about the fee hikes. In August, the adviser contacted his clients to explain that as a result of yet another eye-watering double-digit hike to his levy, coming off the back of Covid-19 and rising professional indemnity costs, he was going to have to pass the cost onto them in future.
He has encouraged his clients to complain – and while this may seem extreme, if the regulator is not prepared to listen to businesses then perhaps the FCA will listen to the consumers it purports to be protecting.
If the cost of staying in practice becomes too onerous for Britain’s entrepreneurial advisers, then what is the next logical step? Either they have to shut up shop or sell up – which could prove detrimental for clients – or they have to raise the cost of advice for their clients.
Every advice business, large and small, listed company or sole trader, is in the same boat – and while the financially strong may survive (or be kept afloat by vertically integrated financial provider structures), those whose bills outweigh their profits are simply not going to exist.
Perhaps it is time to ramp up the pressure on policymakers and get clients to start sending in letters, too. #KeepFeesFair