PA ANALYSIS: FCA attack a sign of pain to come for wealth managers

By John Kenchington

Added 18th April 2017

When the FCA published terms of reference for its Market Study of Asset Management in 2015, wealth managers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

PA ANALYSIS: FCA attack a sign of pain to come for wealth managers

Then, as the regulator set its sights on investment providers, pension consultants and platforms it explicitly ruled private-client wealth management ‘as out of scope’.

But that might be about to change.

In a set of Sector Views published on Tuesday, the conduct watchdog named wealth managers amid a series of criticisms of the state of retail investing in the UK.

It said customers struggled to “obtain information about the quality of advice” they were receiving, because “such information is not available from published sources and can be difficult to verify even after purchase”.

“This means that the total cost of the solutions (including advice) may only become apparent at a late stage of the sales process, when the consumer may have already made the decision to buy,” the FCA added.

"The FCA may feel that driving down wealth management costs is an important part of creating a better retail investment system for the public at large"

The regulator attacked “high search costs in the market for advice” as a barrier to entry and exit between different investments.

“Entry fees are common, especially for consumers who take advice (either from advisers or wealth managers).

"More than 80% of advisers charge an upfront fee, which according to data collected by FAMR, is normally 3% (median value) of the assets,” it said.

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