Thoresen calls on FSA and Government to remember the ‘could haves’ in retail financial market reforms

Thoresen calls on FSA and Government to remember the ‘could haves’ in retail financial market reforms

AEGON UK chief executive, Otto Thoresen, has today called on the Government and FSA to extend the focus of financial services reforms beyond the existing market to cater for people who ‘could have’ access to financial advice in addition to those who are already served by the market.

Thoresen believes Money Guidance and other financial capability initiatives will give people greater confidence in dealing with money matters and increase the numbers seeking professional financial advice. However, if Money Guidance is to succeed and flourish, Thoresen says the advice sector must be widened to meet the increased demand.

Speaking at a Resolution Foundation conference on financial education today Thoresen underlined the need for financial education and guidance at a time of economic upheaval when people are trying to make sense of the world around them and what it means for their family and their finances. He said:

“Some might say financial capability and financial education are a luxury in these times of economic crisis but I believe they are more important than ever. And when the economy starts to recover Money Guidance will be vital in helping people make the right decisions for the future.

AEGON believes the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review proposals promise significant improvements for the ‘haves’, who currently use the financial advice sector, but does little to widen access to advice for the ‘could haves’.

Thoresen today urged the Government, in its forthcoming White Paper on financial services, to build on existing reforms and increase access to professional advice, making it available to the mass market. Otherwise Thoresen is concerned people won’t get access to the products and services that are right for them and that they need.

In his speech, Thoresen continued:

“The Retail Distribution Review should be commended for what it does for the ‘haves’ but it has little to say about access to the market for the ‘have nots’ or the ‘could haves’. One of the most important challenges is how Money Guidance will fit into the wider landscape and I am concerned the current RDR package will result in a smaller market, with advice and long term savings and protection the exclusive preserve of the well-off.

“The Government, FSA and we in the industry must do all we can to make sure there is access for the mass market to be able to get the products and services that are right for them and that they need.”

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