The Centre for Policy Studies’s Michael Johnson usually makes a very useful contribution to the savings debate. But I wonder if he is behind the curve in his suggestion that IFA is an irretrievably tarnished brand complete with the suggestion that advisers focus on financial planning. First I simply have seen no evidence whatsoever that planners can close the savings gap despite the exceptional work they do for their clients. Second, I think this ‘tarnished brand’ is actually currently getting a bit of a once over with the Brasso, whether that is from regulators or advisers themselves. Whatever else the RDR will do it should actually bring about an improvement in the way advisers are perceived and as some advisers restrict could even see a renaissance for the remainder providing independent financial advice. Gill Cardy also makes a pertinent point. Actually IFAs – and planners too of course – have had a pretty good crisis in comparison with much of the rest of financial services. That certainly includes those other ‘distributors’ of financial services the banks. I think a revival of savings needs to go hand in hand with a revival of IFAs.
Also for those interested, here is my trade news round up on Adviser Home. It’s a right riveting read.