Report stage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill – comment

Following the report stage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill, Chris Hill, CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown said: “I’m delighted that the Minister committed to addressing the need for more personalised guidance with great urgency.  This will enable a wider group of people, who aren’t in the position to access financial advice, to receive information relevant to their circumstances now that we have greater freedom to regulate this matter outside of the EU.  At HL, we know there is a lot more we could do to nudge clients towards better outcomes under the consumer duty.  But the rigid rules around advice mean that we cannot personalise these nudges as much as we would like to.  We will work closely with the Treasury and FCA officials in driving this new regime for regulated personal guidance forward.”

At the report stage and third reading of the Financial Services and Markets Bill in the House of Commons, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury said that the advice gap was an ‘unintended consequence’ of the financial advice regime.  He noted that the Financial Advice Market Review, driven by the former City Minister Harriett Baldwin, was restricted due to EU legislation.  He noted that there was now more freedom to move on this issue, which he committed to do ‘with great urgency’.

Chair of the Treasury Select Committee Harriett Baldwin spoke to her amendment for personalised financial guidance in the debate.  She spoke of the 92% who cannot access financial advice and called on the Minister to use new flexibilities outside of the EU to conduct a ‘personalised guidance review with great urgency’.

Baldwin noted the support of the Opposition for her amendment.  Labour Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Stephen Timms supported the amendment in the debate, as did former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.