Should advisers publish charges on their website? The pros and cons

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Sat at home on Saturday morning I read an article explaining that Which? had surveyed 500 IFA websites and found that the vast majority gave little or no information about fees and charges.

“No surprise there” I thought, after all I wrote an article a few weeks ago outlining the 12 things advisers must include on their website and fees / charges was not one of them.

I then took to Twitter, asking the question “Should advisers include their fees and charges on their website?” 48 hours later, as I sit down to write this article, the debate rumbles on.

Having listened to a range of opinions from advisers, commentators and ‘gurus’, I thought I’d try summarise the pros and cons of advisers publishing fees on their website.

Regulatory fees: To get change we must focus on the right target

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I am compelled to address the thorny issue of regulatory fees.

The bills received recently by Sense members, and of course those of all other advisers, have risen dramatically; the largest increase we have seen is an eye watering 300%.

We all know that the current system is unsustainable. The FSCS levy, for advisers with pension permissions, has risen three fold compared to last year and it is already warning that it may breach the £100 million levy cap on intermediaries.

Insistent Clients – an opportunity or a threat?

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The current debate (or perhaps I should say debacle) on insistent clients, shows just how much our profession is evolving and how fearful we have become of the regulatory system, which seeks to protect consumers from themselves.

On one level, as professionals, I really do find it difficult to understand why any adviser would want to help a client to execute a strategy which was against their interests. And I fear that FOS has an ingrained suspicion of transactions which have a contingent adviser charge and use insistent client processes to circumvent suitability rules.