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AXA Wealth : comment on FSA’s research

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Andy Zanelli, head of retirement planning, AXA Wealth, comments on FSA research that says a third of consumers believe financial advice is free.

“Today’s research from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), showing that a third of all consumers believe financial advice to be free, is worrying but perhaps not surprising. Critically, this includes those who have previously been advised, but may not have appreciated they were paying. People may have long believed financial advice to be free, not fully understanding fees and commission, but this has never been the case. This belief has no doubt contributed to the significant devaluing of advice and the scenario, in a post-RDR world, where people say that they simply cannot afford to pay for financial advice. This may lead to consumers choosing to go it alone.

“As we approach the implementation of RDR in January, the single biggest change in the financial services world, it’s vital that consumers think carefully about their needs and ambitions and how they best manage these going forward. Our research* has shown that self-investing, an already growing trend, is favoured by many consumers. Nearly half of respondents (49%) said they can make their own financial decisions while 13% would go it alone for all investments. A third (32%) believe they will benefit from seeing their investments when they want and 29% are attracted by the opportunity to learn more about investing.

“To meet the demand for DIY investment, AXA Wealth has expanded its range of services with the launch of AXA Self Investor; a direct to consumer service, offering a simple, non-advised solution to investors wanting to manage their individual savings and investment plans themselves.”