Finance: Advisory Services

Treasury written question – answered at on 18 March 2024.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many active registered financial advisers there are; how many such advisers there were in 2014; and what assessment the Financial Conduct Authority has made of the causes of changes in the levels of such advisers.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many small financial advice firms the Financial Conduct Authority has visited in the last 12 months; and for what reasons.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many regulations governing the financial advice sector there are; how many there were in 2014; and what assessment the Financial Conduct Authority has made of the potential impact of changes in the level of such regulations on the work of the sector.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Financial Conduct Authority is taking to increase the (a) availability and (b) affordability of financial advice for consumers, and how the effectiveness of such steps is measured.

Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of financial advisers in relation to the demand for financial advice from consumers (a) now and (b) in the future.

Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

HM Treasury works closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that the market works well, competitively and fairly for both firms and consumers, and that the advice being provided is of high quality.

HM Treasury sets the legislative framework for financial services, including financial advice, and regulation of the sector is the responsibility of the independent FCA. Their rules require advice firms to understand the essential facts about their client’s investment objectives, risk tolerance, and ability to bear losses before making a recommendation. The FCA’s Consumer Duty also applies, which requires regulated firms to avoid foreseeable harm and support their customers to pursue their financial objectives.

In 2020, the FCA published an evaluation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) – significant interventions to improve the quality of financial advice. This found that the reviews enhanced the offering available to consumers and increased trust in the investment industry. It also found a small increase in the number of advisers in the market from approximately 35,000 to 36,400 between 2012 and 2019.

The Government recognises continued concerns regarding the accessibility and cost of advice and has launched a review, alongside the FCA, of the regulatory boundary between financial guidance and financial advice. The review seeks to create a regulatory system where commercially viable, high-quality models of support can emerge for consumers at all life stages. HM Treasury and the FCA published a joint policy paper in December 2023 outlining initial proposals for reform and are currently considering the feedback provided by industry and consumer groups.

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