With just weeks to go until voters take to the polls in the general election, Retirement Planner asked five IFAs what single change they would like to see implemented by a new PM.
Advisers also shared how they plan to vote and ranked the existing coalition out of ten…
‘Stop grossly unfair adviser liability!’
Alistair Cunningham, financial planning director, Wingate Financial Planning
One thing a new PM should do: What is grossly unfair is the fact there still exists an unlimited liability for advisers with no long-stop for historic advice. It should be reviewed and put on a level playing field with other professions such as lawyers or accountants.
It’s perhaps not a big deal for a one man band, or an employee in a big company. But for someone looking to buy other companies it presents an unknown factor. Advice is still being reviewed in hindsight, which at the time seemed quite reasonable. For a business owner it is a concern.
I’m broadly satisfied with the current regulation but, from a new Prime Minister, that’s what I’d like to see.
How I will vote: I am undecided. I get more confused the closer we get to the election. I’m somewhat left leaning, but I have some concerns over their macro-economic credibility. The Conservatives are more credible than Labour there. But I live in Conservative-heartland Surrey, so whichever way I vote won’t make a difference. For me it’s definitely between the three main parties, Conservatives, Labour or Lib Dems.
I rate the coalition government (out of ten): A seven. The positives are it has been a relatively coherent government with a relatively good track record on economic stability, but the constant tinkering I object to. There were at least half a dozen changes to pensions, the lifetime allowance and the annual allowance during their parliamentary term.
‘Ban commission outright!’
Raj Shah, owner, Blue Wealth Capital
One thing a new PM should do: For my clients a new PM should scrap the pensions lifetime allowance. We deal with quite a few medical professionals and it’s starting to have an impact on their planning.
For me it’s banning commission on all products altogether. A lot of people still perceive advice is free in a commission model. Scrapping it for insurance products and mortgages would create a level playing field. Everything should be fee based.
How I will vote: Undisclosed
I rate the coalition government: Six-and-a-half. They’ve done some good stuff – they have put financial planning in the spotlight with their pension changes. What I didn’t like was they reduced the lifetime allowance further, and inheritance tax is still far too low. There should also be more money for childcare.
‘Guarantee nothing will change in the coming decade’
Kusal Ariyawansa, financial planner, Appleton Gerrard
One thing a new PM should do: I’d like them to guarantee nothing will change for the next five to ten years so that planning can remain consistent. Our leaders need to see beyond this constant changing of rules for short term gain, one outcome of which is that it costs clients more.
How I will vote: Undecided. My first vote was for Tony Blair as the Tories were disorganised and contradictory. Their pitiable handling of the economy and stealth taxes means I won’t go there again.
I salute the introduction of pension freedoms but why throw a banana skin into the mix by proposing a reduction in the annual and lifetime allowances?
I rate the coalition government: A seven. The economy is doing well. There appears to be some stability and reward for growth. Pensions freedom will be very good for many reasons.
However, in a coalition it’s very difficult to have one way forward. Often the parties end up reaching a half-way house. The nation needs proper leaders, not short term opportunists.
‘Stop tweaking things that are not broken’
Phil Perry, director, Ark Financial Planning
One thing a new PM should do: I’d like some consistency in what they’re doing, stop tweaking things if they’re not broken.
I think what the current government has started is quite positive for financial advice, certainly the flexibility with pensions has increased enquiries. Now they need to build on the things they’ve been introducing.
I wouldn’t like to see a new government try to ‘make it better’; I’d like to see somebody run with it.
How I will vote: I’ll decide in the last minute. Keeping the coalition would be good on the grounds that they’ve introduced a number of things and could ensure consistency.
I rate the coalition government: Seven. They are not average but there’s always the potential to improve. I like the pension changes but all the levies and the lifetime allowance coming down is a problem.
Regulatory fees are a cost to us as a business – the strings have to be pulled somewhere and it may have to be by the government.
‘Get the public to value quality advice’
Patrick Waller, managing director, Financial Planning Partners
One thing a new PM should do: A policy of educating the public to pay a proper fee for quality advice would be of enormous benefit.
Many members of the public still seem to consider financial advice to be free or that they can get high quality advice for a few hundred pounds.
If a good divorce lawyer or tax adviser can charge £200 and upwards per hour for advice, and for this to be perceived as normal, then we need to get to a place where a Chartered financial planner is valued in at least the same bracket, and for the public to get used to paying proper fees for proper advice.
How I will vote: Conservative.
I rate the coalition government: Eight out of ten. The anomaly for those earning between £100,000 and £121,200 who pay income tax at 60% is ridiculous and inequitable.
Ditto the earnings limit for child benefit whereby if one spouse earns over £50,000 child benefit is lost. What if both spouses earn £49,999? Bonkers.