Adviser and campaigner Anna Sofat has urged the whole financial services sector to rally behind a campaign for change, saying “more regulation” was not the answer.
Speaking at 7IM’s 2020 Summit yesterday (February 6), Ms Sofat encouraged advisers to join the Are You In? movement to improve the financial services industry and the overall behaviour of the sector.
She said: “The Are You In? movement is about behavioural change from the bottom up. It’s all of us deciding that we can do better, just by little actions we can do day in, day out.
“We don’t need the regulator to tell us how to behave and run our businesses — we should be able to do that. We have power over what we do and how we do business.”
Ms Sofat said the industry had paid out about £2bn a year in regulatory costs, nearly £50bn in compensation and around £5bn in fines.
She said: “It wouldn’t be so bad if the fines came back to pay some of the compensation, so that the bad people pay for the really bad people, but the fines go to the Treasury and the fees go to the regulator.
“So things really have to change, because more regulation is not going to solve the problems we have.”
The Are You In? movement lists five pledges and asks firms to sign up to any they feel resonates with their own culture and ethos: to be authentic at work, to help, to speak up, to live the changes you want to see, and to be the beacon the industry needs.
Ms Sofat said: “The movement is about making a commitment — making a pledge to make some of the changes we need.
“I’ve been in the industry a long time and I’ve learned that if I’m serious about a better industry, then I’ve got to do something.
“As a women and ethnic minority, I have rightly demanded change for a more equal and fairer society as well as industry. I believe and have built a business that is collaborative, generous and respectful.”
She added: “You can’t hope for the regulator to change things, because it doesn’t work. So the question is, are you in?”
Ms Sofat recently sold her women-focused IFA Addidi Wealth to national advice firm Progeny in a bid to boost the campaign for change in the financial services sector. She remains at the firm.
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