Financial Services should be for everyone.
It’s no over-statement to say that nearly all the change and innovation in Financial Services over the last 15 years has been led by the supply side of our economy. Regulation in the shape of our own UK Retail Distribution Review and the Mortgage Market Review – not to mention international legislation in the shape of Basel III and Dodd Frank – are stil changing the landscape of Financial Services.
While geo-political volatility means that London remains an international ‘go to’ destination for the uber-wealthy, our UK mass market retail financial services are still licking their wounds. Certainly innovations like the Current Account Mortgage or Offset Mortgage, arguably the last time any real customer-led innovation occurred in domestic FS, is very thin on the ground. (For the avoidance of doubt extending LTVs in my opinion does not, as it may appear in some trade press headlines, count as innovative).
Ironically FS is getting more complex as a result and there are fewer and fewer people who actually understand the products or who are qualified to give any meaningful insight. By the way I choose the word insight because advice is so overused / abused / and confused in FS I feel insight reflects what we all want. If you have ever tried to move the shares you own into an ISA wrap, as I have, you will know what I mean.
Standards bring with them barriers to entry so new entrants are effectively blocked from the market and bringing the challenge of new thinking to products and services.
For some years now , our collective economic eye has been focussed on simply getting the UK up and running again. I am sure by cloaking FS in more mystery and difficulty and thinking only about the risks, we are disenfranchising people from the opportunities. People are not as afraid of risk we and our Lord and Masters might like to think. It’s why our betting shops are so full.