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Goddard warns advisers against complacency
by Michelle Abrego on Nov 20, 2012 at 11:13
Advisers have made strong progress improving their professionalism since the retail distribution review (RDR) was first proposed but still have work to do implementing adviser charging and understanding VAT, according to outgoing Personal Finance Society (PFS) chief executive Fay Goddard.
Goddard, who will retire from her position at the head of the PFS in 2013, has led the organisation since 2008, a five-year period she described as ‘challenging’ for advisers.
She said she could not overemphasise the difficulties advisers faced with the RDR, the financial crisis, low interest rates and constant political reforms converging to put immense pressure on their businesses over the past few years.
Under Goddard’s stewardship, the PFS has played a significant role in helping advisers to become qualified for the RDR and in boosting professionalism with its chartered financial planning initiative, but she is aware that qualifications are only one part of the challenge.
She said she was still concerned about whether IFAs understood and were able to cope with adviser charging, legacy issues, VAT and the inconsistency of providers’ offerings. ‘The biggest challenge for advisory firms is wading through all of this,’ she said.
‘[Advisers are] getting a complete patchwork [of information] from providers, platforms and fund managers, and it’s going to be the [toughest] challenge for the first few months,’ said Goddard.
The PFS’s annual survey of members conducted in September showed that 90% of IFAs felt personally prepared for the challenges the RDR would bring but only 80% thought their firm was ready to implement the changes.
‘That’s one in five firms that has not implemented adviser charging,’ she said. ‘They’re leaving it very, very late.’
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