The recent bad press regarding the credit crunch, the global financial crisis and mis-selling scandals, mainly concerning the banks and other large financial institutions, the value of seeking independent advice before committing yourself to any long term financial planning, rather than trusting tied advice, possibly more interested in meeting sales targets than providing a client with a professional level of service, is I'm glad to say, now becoming more apparent.
Personally speaking whatever area of financial planning that is required, I try and provide clients with a professional, friendly service that is totally unbiased and trustworthy and looks to put the interests of the client first. I'm also happy to work on a fee or commission basis, or indeed a mixture of both, whichever suits the client.
My goal and I know a number of my colleagues share the same ethos is to develop long term relationship with clients and their families working along side solicitors and accountants, as required, helping clients achieve long term financial stability and plan for the future.
Looks like the FSA may well implement under RDR proposals just a slight differentiation between "Sales Advice" and "Independent Advice"....However, Julie Patterson, director of funds and tax at the Investment Managements Association (IMA), is concerned that the distinction between independent advice and sales advice is confusing for some consumers.
Chris Cummings, director general of Association of Independent Financial Advisers, agrees. He argues that allowing insurers and banks to call their sales people "advisers" gives the impression that they are actually offering advice to people, rather than selling their their own products.
"The term 'sales adviser' only muddies the water still further and will leave many consumers none the wiser about the type of service they are receiving," he explains. "The FSA should have taken this opportunity to clearly differentiate advice from sales. It has not done this clearly enough - the sales advice term is ambiguous and it will further confuse consumers about who they are dealing with"
Whatever happens if we can survive these difficult times and the undoubted extra regulatory burdens and come out the other side.......going forward I think there will be a great deal of public demand for personal, unbiased services from professional and ethical IFAs.
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