RBS financial advice jobs cuts


The news about yet more job losses is never welcome, writes Bevan & Buckland’s Financial Planning Manager, Gareth Tregidon.  However, it’s unfortunately become par for the course recently when it comes to the financial advice sections of the major banks and building societies.

The news today is that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is cutting 618 jobs from its financial advice service.   The bank has said that the decision is in response to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), a wholesale change to the way in which financial advice is delivered that will take effect from the end of this year.  A spokesperson for RBS said that the introduction of RDR “will have a fundamental effect on how financial institutions deliver advice to customers across the whole industry”, adding that “from 1st January 2013 customers will be charged a fee for the advice they receive from a qualified professional.  If our customers choose financial advice for investment products the costs will be made transparent at the outset.”

Reading that another way, what the RBS spokesperson is saying is that bank clients may not have been fully aware of what they were paying for advice up to now, and that they don’t believe they would be happy to pay the level of fees that would be required.  A number of surveys over recent years have highlighted that most people believe the financial advice they receive, particularly from the banks, is free.  The majority have no idea how much advice actually costs, or what they may have to pay in future.

Bear in mind too that RBS is just the latest. 

  • Barclays announced in January 2011 that it had decided to close its retail financial advice arm completely with an estimated loss of 1,000 jobs.
  • HSBC announced in April 2012 that it would scrap its branch-based tied advice service, resulting in up to 650 adviser job losses.  This is on top of the losses following the closure of Nursing Homes Fees Agency (NHFA) the bank-owned care fees specialist, in 2011.
  • Lloyds revealed in February that it intends to provide a basic advice service focusing on protection (mainly life & health insurance).  It is also proposing to provide a financial planning service for higher value clients, but has not yet announced what this will look like.
  • Co-Operative announced in July 2011 that it was cutting around 670 financial advisers.
  • Nationwide is currently running a pilot to see whether a fee-based service providing advice on investment products from a since insurance company, Legal & General, is viable.

So what does this mean for the majority of people who have used their banks for financial advice in the past?

Gareth Tregidon

Gareth Tregidon

The impression given is that, if you have a large enough sum, the bank will still want to “be your best friend”!  You will still be offered their “wealth management service” (or whatever phrase is used), which will usually mean you get a managed

portfolio of shares, fixed interest stocks, collective investment funds (such as unit and investment trusts) and other asset types.  There is nothing wrong with this approach provided it’s what you want, just make sure to keep a close eye on what you are being charged.  Recent cases we’ve seen from some high street banks showed total charges of 3%-4% per year!And if you haven’t got a large enough pension or investment pot?  It looks like you’ll have to go elsewhere for advice in the future!


Gareth Tregidon is manager of Bevan & Buckland’s Financial Planning Department, which operates from the firm’s Swansea, Pembroke and Haverfordwest offices. The department provides fee-based advice to personal and business clients, both from within the firm and elsewhere. 
As well as having over 25 years’ experience in the provision of financial advice, Gareth is a
Certified Financial PlannerCM and an accredited Later Life Adviser with the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).  He is former Chairman of the Institute of Financial Planning in South Wales, and an assessor for the internationally recognised Certified Financial PlannerCM licence. 




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