Fay Goddard: ‘I do not underestimate the challenges facing advisers’

Fay Goddard 480 Alt

Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says she has gone a long way to achieving her “five year vision” for the professional body but adds she does not underestimate the challenges advisers will face post-RDR.

Speaking to Fundweb’s sister publication Money Marketing today at the PFS annual conference in Birmingham, and following the announcement that she will be stepping down next year, Goddard says five years is the right amount of time to lead an organisation like the PFS.

She says: “I have almost achieved my five year vision for the PFS which was to provide as much help and support for the adviser community to get through the challenges of the RDR, particularly with qualifications, and to help advisers get their statements of professional standing. The membership has done incredibly well on that.

“But it was also to create the chartered profession, to do as much as we could to support the existing chartered membership, to grow it, and to inspire others to want to be chartered. To me it is in its infancy but it is growing and at a rate that is better than I had expected.”

Goddard says during her tenure she has seen “RDR rejecters” reluctantly come around to the idea of improving the profession, and has also seen what she calls “complete converts”.

But she says there are still a host of issues around the RDR that, even at this late stage, still need clarifying.

She says: “I do not underestimate the challenges firms will still face. There is a list of areas I still have concern over regarding the implementation of the RDR. Just because we are supportive of the change in the professional standards it does not mean everything is perfect by a long stretch.

“There have been unintended consequences and there are still a lot of business issues outstanding, such as legacy products, the inconsistency of adviser charging approaches by providers, fund managers and platforms, VAT and numerous other things. It is going to take time to identify these operational issues that still need to be resolved.”

Goddard adds she remains concerned about differences in the way providers choose to facilitate adviser charging, and whether that will end up influencing which products are recommended and bought.

She said: “The worst possible outcome is that you create another kind of bias which does not benefit the consumer. A simple example is company A facilitating adviser charging on an investment bond, and company B doing it in a different way. Will that drive the product selection, and will that be based on what benefits the adviser’s business rather than what is right for the client?”

Goddard will remain as PFS chief executive until a successor is appointed, but expects to have stepped down by March.