Rookes expressed concerns over adviser ethics during a fringe meeting at the recent Labour Party conference. Her comments sparked a backlash amongst the adviser community and led to urgent dialogue between Rookes and Personal Finance Society chief executive, Keith Richards.
As a consequence, the MAS issued the following statement to Personal Finance Society members and the adviser community as a whole.
"We are very disappointed that Caroline's comments during a fringe meeting at a Labour Party conference have been misrepresented as an attack on the ethics of advisers and would like to apologise if this has caused offence to advisers.
“The regulated advice community plays a vital role in helping consumers and we believe that it operates to very high ethical standards.
“That is why we are committed to building greater links with regulated advisers and are looking to develop a new directory of regulated advisers, to make it easier for consumers of both our service and the government's new retirement guidance facility, to access more detailed and specialist advice if they need it."
Richards welcomed the clarification and said: “Even though we work closely with the MAS, we could not just sit back and say nothing on such a serious issue, which is why we responded publicly in the first instance.
“Whilst there is undoubtedly still work to be done, the advice sector’s response to RDR and its on-going commitment as a whole deserves to be applauded.”
“More importantly, any comment relating to advisers needs to reflect this to ensure it presents a more accurate and balanced picture to consumers.
“Doing so will give them the assurance and confidence to seek professional advice in order to make well-informed financial decisions.
“We are delighted the MAS have now put the record straight and apologised for the misunderstanding. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with them for the greater good of the general public.”