Chris Morris (left) and Tracy Vegro

When it comes to what is stopping Brits from getting advice, you’ll hear a few refrains that might sound familiar.

“It’s awareness, and I don’t think we’ve had a regulator…the regulator almost frightened people and they talk about bad advice and what you need to be careful about,” Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment chief executive Tracy Vegro told Professional Planner during a visit to the association’s London office last week.

“There’s a jeopardy in taking no advice.”

As is the case with our local advice associations, the CISI has played a key role in simultaneously trying to grow the profession while upholding high professional standards.

“As long as you take advice, and you think about how you utilise that advice, and use somebody that is professionally qualified – I would argue that, wouldn’t I, as a membership body that sets its qualifications – I would say the detriment of not taking advice is far greater,” Vegro said.

Chris Morris, the group’s head of financial planning policy and engagement, said there is a current and well-recognised advice gap in the UK.

With close to 30,000 regulated individuals giving advice, the UK doesn’t even have twice as many advisers as Australia has, despite having more than double the population.

“One of our objectives is to encourage the next generation to come through to give financial advice, because we have got an ageing population here,” Morris said.

Both Vegro and Morris said the impact the Retail Distribution Review – which ushered in higher education standards and banned commissions, much like the FOFA reforms did in Australia – had on parts of the advice sector.

“When something like RDR comes in you will naturally get some people that call it a day because they don’t necessarily want to upskill, but it wasn’t the only thing that led to a reduction in advisers,” Morris said.