The retail distribution review: retail financial services; regulation; financial advice market review

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    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the effect of reforms to the UK’s retail advice sector as a result of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).
    Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a review of the RDR in the context of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).
    Findings – There is a lack of clarity, experienced by both consumers and financial advisers, concerning the nature of “advice”. This results from the use of an array of regulatory and non-regulatory terms. Whilst enhancing professionalisation and reducing commission bias, the RDR is failing to address the needs of many financial consumers – identified by many as an “advice gap”. It is argued that the focus of the RDR, and previous reforms, on addressing market failures may be misplaced.
    Practical implications – The paper provides an analysis designed to help in the process of developing a retail advice sector that meets the needs of consumers, in the context policy reforms placing more emphasis on the responsibilities of individuals for financial planning.
    Social implications – The study has the potential of better outcomes for consumers and reputational returns for the financial services sector.
    Originality/value – This paper is a review of the current regulatory issues facing financial advisers and retail consumers in the context of the RDR and FAMR.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)140-153
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Financial Regulation and Compliance
    Issue number2
    Early online date24 Mar 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016


    • financial regulation
    • financial intermediaries
    • personal financial planning
    • retail distribution review
    • retail financial services


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