PFS renews call for second FAMR to tackle 'unfinished business'

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PFS renews call for second FAMR to tackle 'unfinished business'

The Personal Finance Society has renewed its calls for a second Financial Advice Market Review this year in a bid to address "unfinished business on the regulatory front". 

Before the pandemic unfolded last year the professional body wrote to HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority urging action on an ongoing and much-debated advice gap first identified in the FAMR in 2015. 

The PFS has now renewed its call for a second FAMR, warning the need for advice in 2021 will be "greater than ever" as society and the economy continue to navigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis and Brexit. 

Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said: "As a professional body, we recognise there is unfinished business on the regulatory front, which will come out as the FCA progresses with its review of the investment market.

"The advice gap that was identified by the FAMR still exists, as does the volatility of professional indemnity premiums and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy.

"These will have to be replaced by a less volatile consumer funding mechanism if we are to stand any chance of closing the advice gap and ensuring everyone who would benefit from financial advice is able to access it." 

Last month the FCA published its long-awaited review of the advice market post Retail Distribution Review and the FAMR, in which it warned of "significant" price clustering and competition which was falling short of expectations in the sector. 

The regulator also sounded alarm bells over "little competitive pressure" amongst advice firms and warned advisers were not encouraged to innovate and offer new and more affordable services, especially to less wealthy customers. 

But on the whole, the FCA said the financial advice market was "improving, albeit slowly" since the introduction of RDR and FAMR. 

Sheldon Mills, interim executive director of strategy and competition, said the advice and guidance market was "moving in the right direction, but still had further to go".