AEGON wants financial advice on the policy agenda

AEGON UK believes this would be a natural complement to the Money Guidance initiative the government has committed to implementing, recommended by Thoresen in his review for the Treasury published in March 2008.

Thoresen was speaking alongside Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Kitty Ussher, at a Fringe breakfast meeting today, hosted by AEGON, at the Labour party conference. Thoresen says the current heightened economic turmoil has increased the urgency for, as well as the importance of, the financial advice agenda. Thoresen believes recent market uncertainty has left people confused and lacking confidence in the financial industry.

Thoresen urged government policymakers to develop the guidance and assistance people need to let them take on their increasing financial responsibilities with confidence. He argued that financial advice and guidance should not be polarised and available only to the wealthy, or the very poor or heavily indebted. Thoresen called on the FSA to make sure its ongoing Retail Distribution Review will broaden access to advice for all and deliver the reforms needed to begin to restore consumer confidence in the financial services industry.

To give added impetus to kick-starting the process Thoresen is calling on the Government, the financial services sector and the FSA to join him in reviewing progress early in the New Year.

Thoresen commented: "Recent market turbulence means the need for clear financial advice has never been more acute. People from all walks of life are looking for advice, help and guidance to calm their fears and address their concerns.

"It's time to put advice on the policy agenda and make wider access to professional financial advice, sitting alongside Money Guidance, a key part of the government's response to the current crisis. This is something that is now urgent, as well as important.

"The FSA can play a vital part by ensuring the retail distribution review encourages new advice solutions to emerge to meet the needs of different people at different times. If we can start the process now and commit to reviewing progress early in 2009, we can begin to equip people to weather future financial storms."