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Comment: IFAs deserve better than to be compared to workers at McDonalds


Matthew Timmins (pictured), Managing Director of IFA support company SimplyBiz, comments on the statement regarding current IFA qualifications made by UK’s Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban.

During a debate on the regulation of independent financial advisers in the House of Commons this week, Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban commented, “the current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonalds. The products that are being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and long lasting in their effects than a Big Mac.” 

Mr. Hoban’s comments, in addition to his reported refusal to take any debate or questions from the floor, reveal not only a presumed lack of interaction with his constituents, but also a lack of knowledge about financial services.  Had he consulted his constituents on this matter, I suspect he would have received the same feedback as Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Garnier and the 13 other MPs who raised concerns during the debate experienced.
His inflammatory comparison of IFAs to McDonalds workers is offensive to the thousands of advisers who work tirelessly to provide clients with an important and professional service, and only negates his more rational points about the perception of advisers and the importance of attracting new blood into the industry. How can we improve the perception of advisers amongst the public when senior politicians are making this type of absurd comment?
If Mr. Hoban had been aware of the facts – that independent financial advisers were accountable for only 2% of complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service in 2009/10, in sharp contrast to the 61% which were received against banks – he may have delivered his comments with more respect.


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