The trade body for financial advisers has today published its response to HM Treasury’s Public Financial Guidance Consultation.
The Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) says that the provision of public financial guidance should be rationalised by merging the three entities of Pension Wise, MAS and TPAS into one body. This, says APFA, this would bring clarity and consistency for consumers, and also generate efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.
It is also calling for a clearer referral system to regulated financial advice, so that consumers who need further help can be catered for. It also said that there should be a reduction in the cost of advice, so that it becomes affordable for a greater number of people. What’s more, duplication of services should be reduced and the statutory provision should solely aim to fill the gaps in the market that cannot be catered for by the private sector.
Chris Hannant, Director General of APFA, said: “There is a growing confusion around financial guidance that needs addressing. We believe that the organisations providing public financial guidance should be merged and the resulting entity needs to work better with other providers of information, guidance and advice in educating consumers regarding the options available to them.
“At the moment, the public financial guidance provision is fragmented and low public awareness could in part be caused by the existence of multiple entities and confusion around what they all do’.
“Public financial guidance should have a triage approach, channelling consumers towards the level of guidance or advice that they need and can afford. It should also ensure that it delivers good value for money by not duplicating services.”