The FCA and HM Treasury have, in August 2015, launched a major review of the financial advice market.  Labelled the Financial Advice Market Review, it will examine how financial advice (considered in its broadest sense) could work better for consumers and will consider, among other areas, how to improve access to financial advice for less wealthy consumers.

The review will examine all types of retail financial products including pensions, savings, mortgages, and insurance.

The review will examine:

  • the advice gap for those people who want to “work hard, do the right thing and get on in life but do not have significant wealth”;
  • the regulatory or other barriers firms may face in giving advice and how to overcome them;
  • how to give firms the regulatory clarity and create the right environment for them to innovate and grow;
  • the opportunities and challenges presented by new and emerging technologies to provide cost effective, efficient and user friendly advice services; and
  • how to encourage a healthy demand side for financial advice, including addressing barriers which put consumers off seeking advice.

The FCA and HM Treasury will report before the 2016 Budget and will seek to outline a package of reforms to empower and equip all UK consumers to make effective decisions about their finances within a regulatory environment that gives firms the necessary clarity to allow them to compete and innovate in this area.

A supplementary consultation is also due to begin later in the year to look into how the direct-to-consumer advisory services Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service can be best utilised.