March has seen the publication of a ‘Final report’ by HM Treasury and the FCA on the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).
FAMR was launched in August 2015 and was stated as coming: "in light of concerns that the market for financial advice in the UK was not working well for all consumers. The aim of the Review has been to explore ways in which Government, industry and regulators can take individual and collective steps to stimulate the development of a market which delivers affordable and accessible financial advice and guidance to everyone, at all stages of their lives." [source: HM Treasury and FCA Financial Advice Market Review – Final Report, March 2016]
The report was required reading for many across the financial services sector, and beyond, and it makes some fair observations on the market and wider environment.
However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of its content was in fact the lack of any real content. Whilst full of recommendations for further consultation, investigation, development, review and exploration, there was little, if any, actual ‘doing’!
What this means for individual organisations operating in the financial services sector remains to be seen. But it is likely that forces in their own right, be they, for example, technological innovation or social change, will drive the pace and implications of market development at a speed somewhat faster than that being pursued by this regulatory framework.