(This is an excerpt from my weekly newsletter commentary on 9th October)
In my commentary last week I talked about how the future of financial advice is bright. It was a popular piece and I received some fantastic feedback from many of you.
My comments were very much focused on the young blood in the financial advice industry. However, there are many existing advisers who equally have consumers' best interests at heart. That's why it was good to hear about a financial adviser who is trying to do something about cold calling, a practice that blights our nations's finances.
He believes that "cold calling by phone or email for investment or pensions should be made illegal as it very often leads to unregulated investments and scams. Banning cold calling would dramatically reduce the number of people falling prey to fraudsters and losing their savings and pensions".
He has even started an official parliamentary petition, which if it gets 10,000 people to support it online will require a response from the Government. I have signed the petition myself. At the moment the petition has just over a 1,000 signatures. If everyone who reads this newsletter this week signed the petition we would easily surpass the 10,000 limit pretty quickly.
Of course that's unlikely as it's up to the individual whether they want to support such a petition. However, one thing I would say is that the petition isn't really about you as an individual. It's about protecting your elderly parents or children from falling prey to scammers. Indeed, protecting anyone who is vulnerable to cold callers' aggressive tactics. Of course the petition or a new law won't solve the problem overnight as those who operate outside of the law won't particularly care if cold calling is made illegal. They will carry on regardless. However, if the Government took the problem seriously then resources could be directed at limiting the effectiveness of cold calling and thereby reducing the number of scam victims.
The other point is that it's refreshing to see someone within the finance industry actually trying to make a difference. If the petition fails to meet its target of 10,000 supporters then it discourages others from trying something similar in the future.
Most members of the public are quick to criticise the finance industry, and quite right too. Yet that's easy to do. As I alluded to in my commentary last week, change is seldom achieved using a stick alone. Reform has the best chance of happening when instigated from within the industry. We should therefore support people trying to make a difference. Imagine if they did hit their 10,000 target, do you think that would be it? Most likely they would look for the next injustice to right or at least encourage others to do so.
So the first question is "do you want cold calling banned?". The second and perhaps most important question is "do you want to encourage those looking out for consumers who also have the best chance of helping to reform the world of finance?".