Sunday 25 September 2005

Financial ill health: is there a cure?

AXA and the Resolution Foundation held a joint breakfast meeting at the Labour Party Conference to discuss the development of generic financial advice (GFA) and the wider financial capability agenda.

Describing her work on financial capability and financial exclusion as a key priority, Kitty outlined the Government’s key initiatives in this area: the extension of the Financial Inclusion fund and the work of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce, the Savings Gateway, the Child Trust Fund and the work of the Thoresen Review. Paul focused on the need to harness learning about behavioral finance to deliver significant behavioral change among consumers, while Laurie drew on his personal experience to stress the value of receiving and acting on effective financial advice. He then used his experience in the financial services industry to highlight the benefits that would be delivered by providing GFA on a national basis.

The discussion that followed centred on funding, service delivery and the issue of trust between consumers and the industry, in particular the implications of this for the governance of a national GFA service. Overall, the support of the different constituencies assembled was seen as an opportunity to seize the moment and deliver a step change in financial capability. Ensuring that initiatives are effectively co-ordinated, that a constructive approach is adopted in discussions about funding and that an independent governance structure is put in place were identified as key factors in achieving this.