Views sought to radically improve access to financial advice

HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will launch a joint consultation exploring what can be done to improve customers’ access to financial advice.

The consultation, which is the first major milestone of the Financial Advice Market Review, will focus on the following questions.

  • What kind of financial advice do consumers want?
  • Are there gaps between the financial advice that consumers want, and the financial advice that they can access and afford?  
  • How can these gaps be closed?
  • What role could technology, such as “robo-advice”, play in improving access to financial advice?

The Financial Advice Market Review was launched on 3 August and is examining how financial advice could work better for consumers, building on the government’s pension reforms which have allowed people real choice and freedom over their savings and given them access to free and impartial guidance.  The review is being led by Charles Roxburgh, Director General, Financial Services at HM Treasury and Tracey McDermott, acting CEO at the FCA.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin said:

“Helping hard-working people achieve their aspirations at every stage of their lives is at the heart of our long term plan.

“A key part of that is making sure that people can access high quality, affordable, tailored advice and guidance to help them make informed financial decisions, whether that is saving for their first home, taking out a mortgage, buying a car, or saving and investing for the future.

“That’s why we’re exploring what more can be done to make sure consumers can access high quality and affordable advice so they can make informed decisions with their hard-earned money.”

Tracey McDermott, acting CEO at the FCA said:

“The financial decisions people make can have long reaching effects.  It is important that the market provides accessible and affordable advice when people need it.  

“The review is a chance for the FCA, government, industry and consumers to work together to ensure we can deliver a market that meets this need.”

Nick Prettejohn, chair of the expert advisory panel said:

“It is vital that the financial advice market meets the needs of consumers to enable them to make informed financial decisions at all stages of their life. I am pleased to have been asked to chair the expert advisory panel of industry and consumer voices, to contribute ideas that I hope will improve consumer access to financial advice.

“I look forward to working closely with my fellow members of the expert panel and with Treasury and the FCA.”

The consultation will be open until 22 December, and a final report will be published ahead of Budget 2016.

The initial evidence gathering will have a broad scope before narrowing down to consider those areas where the advice gap may be most acute.

The review will be supported by an external expert advisory panel comprising of industry and consumer voices, and chaired by Nick Prettejohn.

Notes to editors

  1. Financial Advice Market Review Call for input.
  2. The review's terms of reference.
  3. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  4. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  5. Find out more information about the FCA.