Shaping the future of impartial 
financial services in the UK 
 
About Us 
Q & A 
 

Q & A 

 
What Are Your Aims and Ambitions? 
 
We aim to bring focus back to the industry and the clear representation of practical issues 
 
We aim to present, both to the regulator and to the government, how the industry can expand advice and the practical benefits our sector brings to the consumer 
 
Libertatem will engage its members to use the parliamentary process to speak to their MPs and the media. Regulators will find concerted interest from MPs far more difficult to ignore.  
 
The Pension Freedoms have created yet another need for professional financial advice and guidance will be insufficient for many consumers 
 
We aim to represent 20% of IFA firms in the first 12 months and to grow our membership base from there 
 
 
What Are Your Views On Regulation?  
 
Regulation of the industry is currently semi-detached with the FCA, FOS and FSCS all following their own separate agendas, leading to FOS giving judgements for wholly compliant advice. There must be certainty. 
 
The regulator must follow the Law. The Limitations Act applies to Financial Services. The FSMA 2000 failed to remove it and if the regulator wishes to extend Long Stop it must go to Parliament and specifically ask for that power. They cannot assume that power and hope the cost of challenge will put the industry off. 
 
Regulation adds additional costs to advisers’ businesses as they pay them on behalf of their clients. We believe that the cost and scale of regulation needs to be driven down before it destroys the industry it claims to regulate. 
 
Advisers don’t have anything to fear from proper regulation as long as it concentrates on consumer protection rather than, as currently, social engineering  
 
The advisers’ prime job is to advise clients - not satisfy regulators. In 1980, there was one regulator for every 11,000 people employed in Financial Services. By 2011 it was one in 300. By 2070 it will be one to one. 
 
 
Why Now? 
 
We now have a majority Conservative government who has expended considerable electoral rhetoric on deregulation – Time for a concerted effort to make them deliver  
 
Part of that approach is to bring greater Parliamentary accountability to the activities of the FCA and its acolytes. The Treasury Select Committee has been badly mistreated by regulators and many back benchers are determined that this will not continue. 
 
We need to restore pride in the sector and the positive work we do for our clients. We need to stop apologising for our existence and really promote the social good we all do. 
 
We need to peg back regulatory budgets which have increased ten-fold in 15 years  
 
We need joined up Government. We have the introduction of Pension Freedoms creating an even more of a vital role for advice whilst thanks to RDR, the regulator has cut down the number of advisers by 13,000. This is bizarre and cannot continue. 
 
Advisers need to work in a principled world where compliant advice is not overturned by the FOS 
 
The advisers need a trade association that attempts to set its own agenda, not just accept regulatory dictat by tinkering around at the edges 
 
We need to restore pride in the sector and the positive work we do for our clients. It’s time to stop apologising and promote the social good we all do. 
 
What about APFA? 
 
We are happy to work in conjunction with APFA on industry issues but this is a critical time for the industry and we believe a stronger, clearer and broader representation of advisers is required. 
 
We are also concerned at the very small numbers of directly authorised members in APFA’s membership and its financial exposure to networks may in the medium term compromise its existence. 
 
What about RDR and Trail Commission? 
 
The Heath Report 2 showed that as a result of RDR as many as 15.8 million consumers had become disenfranchised from their adviser due to decreasing adviser numbers and advisers cutting down on their client numbers. The report shows the removal of trail commission in 2016 could create a further loss of advisers in the industry, estimating between 20-40% attrition. 
 
We need to realise the consequences and the impact of regulation and find solutions that are to the benefit of the consumer, that isn’t detrimental to those outside of the wealthy few. 
 
RDR has helped to professionalise and upskill the industry further, ultimately improving the quality of advice consumers receive. However, if adviser numbers continue to decrease with future regulation, we need to realise the unintended consequences to the consumer. 
 
Diminishing adviser numbers and a move from commission will impact the ‘average’ consumer with average pension pots – not the wealthy. 
 
Libertatem is therefore calling for a halt to the suspension of trail commission in order to carry out a proper review of the impact of the removal of trail and debate and have a sensible discussion on how we move forward which does not have unintended consequences for the consumer. 
 
Diminishing adviser numbers and a move from commission impacts on the ‘average ‘ consumer, not the wealthy. 
 
Does The Change of Government Help? 
 
With a majority Conservative Government we have a new opportunity to examine the accountability and quantum of regulation. We will seek to encourage ministers to match their deregulation rhetoric with actions. They are now masters of their own destiny and cannot blame the Lib Dems for their inaction. The size of the majority gives backbenchers a far louder voice in this government – something we can exploit. 
 
The appointment of Ros Altmann presents a fantastic opportunity as she was critical of the lack of advisers post pension liberation. We look forward to working with Ros and others to achieve sensible solutions that are for the benefit of the consumer. 
 
Gill Cardy Failed – What Makes You Think You Will Succeed? 
 
This is a team effort, not just one person 
 
The people on the committee are experienced and well-placed to take on this job  
 
Whilst the Independent Only stance was attractive; whether you are deemed independent or not is in the hands of the regulator who could change the definition at any moment. Many firms will end up being both so we will represent Independents, restricted and wealth managers. 
 
 
 
 
 
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