David Prosser: Do you trust your financial adviser?


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Outlook It is impossible to argue with the Financial Services Authority's Sheila Nicoll, who yesterday called for the "rebuilding [of] trust between customer and adviser", as the regulator unveiled reforms of the financial advice market that will take effect at the start of 2013.

These reforms, which include more exacting qualifications for those who give financial advice to the public, the abolition of sales commissions and a new code of ethics, are naturally to be welcomed. But there is a better way for financial advisers to restore trust: stop ripping people off.

If the case of Barclays Bank is anything to go by, the lessons of the mis-selling scandals of the past 20 years have not yet been universally learnt. This week it was fined more than £7m for wrongly advising thousands of risk-averse investors to put their savings into potentially volatile funds, with some cases as recent as 2008.

To be fair to the bank, it simply the latest in a seemingly endless string of financial services companies to be found guilty of a woeful failure to offer decent advice to consumers. Maybe these reforms will finally end this depressing run – but don't hold your breath.

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