Consumer Panel reminds MPs to 'mind the gap'

22 May 2012

The Panel has today published its views on the perceived advice gap that is facing millions of consumers as they try to access affordable advice. Although people need help, particularly at critical stages in their lives such as retirement planning, cost-effective advice is increasingly difficult to find. This situation may well be exacerbated by the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).

The Panel hopes to stimulate debate by publishing its views around advice models and the need to develop more reliable products that 'do what they say on the tin'.

Adam Phillips, Consumer Panel Chair commented:

"Over the next year, Parliament is set to consider many aspects of financial services. However, advice to enable consumers to access financial services is conspicuously absent. While we are fully supportive of the RDR in eliminating bias and raising professional standards in the industry it may not solve the ever widening advice gap and we want the industry to look more innovatively at developing appropriate solutions. We believe there is mileage in this, particularly if advice can be linked to reliable products that consumers can trust.

"Financial services providers need to learn from the experience of the retail sector in better identifying their customer needs and providing cost-effective solutions. We would like to see providers and regulators in financial services working together more effectively to fill the advice gap."



Notes to editors

  1. The Consumer Panel position paper.
  2. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA's performance in meeting its objectives.
  3. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA's remit. More information about the Panel's work.