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Personal Finance Society launches consumer insight panel

Chartered Insurance Institute | Chartered Insurance Institute

3 min read Partner content

The Personal Finance Society has established a Consumer Insight Panel intended to inform, influence and support the society with its work to improve consumer confidence and trust in financial advice.

The panel, which met for the first time in London in January, will advise and support the Personal Finance Society in its work to develop and deliver clear and balanced information, and effective public education. This will help to assist an increasing number of consumers to make better informed decisions about their financial needs, leading to better consumer outcomes.The initiative ultimately seeks to improve consumer confidence and trust in the financial planning profession.

The Consumer Insight Panel is made up of organisations and individuals who have significant consumer insight, including the Financial Services Consumer Panel, Age UK, Which?, the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and independent experts together with Personal Finance Society leaders.

The following issues have already been identified as areas where the panel would like to focus its attention and work together with the society for the benefit of consumers:

- The 'advice gap'
- Simplifying the customer journey
- Making financial services easier to use
- What does good advice look like and are consumers getting good advice?
- Developing and improving research and insight
- Balanced communications and guidance

Commenting on the new Consumer Insight Panel Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: "With the growing focus on the need for better consumer education on financial matters, the Consumer Insight Panel will provide the Personal Finance Society with input from organisations who understand and represent consumer views and best interests, putting the needs of the consumer even more at the very heart of work going forward.

"There was consensus on the panel that consistent and more balanced information across various public interest organisations, using common terminology, would aid the delivery of more effective financial education and in turn this should give the public more confidence and trust in making better informed decisions, especially around the need for qualified advice.

"The changes brought about by the RDR are not widely understood by the public but represent an opportunity for the profession to change perception amongst those who have never engaged with a professional adviser."

Teresa Perchard, chair of the panel and PFS non-executive director, added: "Consumers today face some very significant financial challenges. They are expected to take more responsibility for meeting the costs of their retirement and care, but with more limited cash and assets, poorer investment returns and more debt and other commitments than consumers had in the past. Gaining consumers' confidence to use high quality professional financial advice has even more potential to improve people's lives than in the past.

"I am therefore delighted the PFS has launched this initiative, and extremely pleased that we have had such a positive response from leading consumer representatives who have agreed to join the Panel and work with us to identify how the financial planning community can improve consumer trust and confidence in financial advice and deliver the best possible financial outcomes for consumers."

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