The Foundation held the conference Engagement: Closing The Financial advice Gap on 7th February 2006 to bring together representatives from government, the financial services industry and the voluntary and consumer sectors to move the debate forward on the financial ‘advice gap’. The conference sought to further understanding of the scale and impact of this problem, to share learning of current advice initiatives and to flag up challenges in moving towards a solution. The conference was also an opportunity to launch the findings of new research commissioned by the Foundation from the Future Foundation, in partnership with the Alliance for Health in the Future, which used the British Household Panel Survey to analyse the size, composition and characteristics of those in the advice gap.
Overall, the debate illustrated an understanding of the importance of this problem and a shared willingness to engage in finding solutions in moving forward. The conference also helped identify some key barriers, such as the need to build a common language on ‘advice’, to understand which delivery channels will be trusted by consumers, and to look collectively at the range of activity taking place in order to learn from and build on it.