Ok, so we at Portfolio Adviser can hardly say too much – we’ve carried out our own polls on the RDR on this very website – but as my inbox overflows with more surveys and opinions, I’m beginning to wonder about their relevance, and who exactly reads them.
The latest comes from BlackRock, which found that 61% of advisers do not feel prepared for RDR, with 87% admitting they have not finalised client propositions. Worrying stats, though how many advisers did they question? 88. So that’s 53 advisers, out of something like 25,000 listed IFAs, that are not ready for RDR.
We’ve seen plenty of similar surveys in recent weeks while at the same time groups have been falling over themselves to launch RDR-ready clean fee share classes. Dare I say they too are only now just finalising their plans for the new regulatory regime?
Whatever the polls say, if you don’t know what’s required by now then you probably never will. That the FSA has stepped up its review of wealth manager businesses, looking specifically at client outcomes and firms’ due diligence systems and controls, is a clear sign that the regulator intends to be more hands-on in its final months before being split into two March 2013.
CBU head Martin Wheatley’s well-publicised pronouncements on commissions are another example of a wide-scale clampdown on mis-selling across financial services, while the regulator’s new consumer guides make crystal clear its message to consumers: “advice has never been free”.
Things are heating up and, no matter whether its 50 or 5,000 intermediaries that are still not ready – who honestly knows? – the FSA is encouraging dialogue with clients. It wants them to ask how much they are paying for advice and how much that same advice will cost in the future. Your clients are prepared for RDR, are you?