Fay Goddard, Director of Policy, commented:
"Polarisation has over fifteen years delivered clarity for consumers and enabled the importance of advice, especially independent advice to be highlighted. We can only hope that high quality and professional advice will be able to thrive in the depolarised future as much as it has in the polarised past. Whilst we regret the passing of polarisation, we are confident that our members will be able to show their value to both existing and new clients. "
The final rules are very much as we expected. They do set in train a fundamental change in the pattern of financial advice but we expect change to be evolutionary, not immediate. Firms must now make best use of the six months before depolarisation fully occurs to plan their future structure and to decide how they will explain their services.
The FSA has confirmed the principal features of the menu. AIFA believes that this will give advisers the opportunity to demonstrate at an early stage the value of what they do; the great advantage of the menu approach (which was first drawn up by AIFA) is that it relates the cost of receiving advice to a clear statement of what services are being provided. Whilst AIFA continues to question the volume of information included in the menu, we believe that it will be useful to advisers and consumers alike.
Fay Goddard added:
"The menu increases the level of disclosure and transparency around both the cost of advice and the role of an adviser. We believe that this can only advantage the many firms of IFAs and those who offer quality and professionalism to their clients".