14% of advisers sceptical that FAMR measures are closing the advice gap

Written by Oliver Wade

Just one in seven (14%) of advisers feel that FAMR’s key measures are helping to close the advice gap, despite 33% agreeing that FAMR’s key measures are beneficial, according to research conducted by Aegon.

Of the advisers that were surveyed, 70% of them agreed with the new definition of regulated advice, which is linked to providing a personal recommendation. However, 69% of advisers do not think it is helping to close the advice gap, whilst 44% support the development of clearer guidance on what can be provided through streamlined advice, but only 16% think that it is having a real-life impact.

Almost 50% of advisers supported the FCA setting out what assistance employers and trustees can provide on financial matters without being subject to regulation, in the form of factsheets and guidance, but only 8% said that these new documents are helping.

The government is aiming to develop an online Pensions Dashboard from 2019 and 49% of advisers support the idea, while 20% strongly support the concept, despite 45% of them disagree that the dashboard will help close the gap. A quarter of the advisers surveyed reported being “unsure” on whether the dashboard would help.

There was strong support from advisers to increase the income tax and National Insurance exemption for employer arranged advice on pensions from £150 to £500, with 69% agreeing on the measure. However, only 37% said that they think it will assist in closing the advice gap, with a further 18% unsure.

Aegon director of pensions Steven Cameron stated: “The Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) presented a huge opportunity to address the advice gap. In today’s world, people more than ever before have to take responsibility for their finances and seeking advice is the best way to do this. Two years on from the publication of the FAMR report, advisers remain broadly supportive of the measures that emerged, be it the Pensions Dashboard or clearer guidance on what can be provided through streamlined advice. However, when it comes to how effective these have been in practice, the findings are very disappointing. The FCA’s Business Plan points to a review of the impact of FAMR and the RDR but not until 2019. There’s clearly an opportunity for the industry and the FCA to keep working together to identify how to turn a major opportunity into widespread practical benefit.”

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