Fair fees and falling adviser numbers among top discussions on cherry forum

The fees brokers pay to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and predictions of falling numbers of advisers in the years ahead were among the most talked about topics on the cherryplc.co.uk industry forum last month.

The FCA’s fees and levies proposals for 2024/25, which plan to lift fees for advisers by around 9.2%, garnered a passionate response from intermediaries using the popular industry forum, which attracted more than 35,000 unique visitors in 2023.

Among the concerns expressed were calls for the regulator to be more transparent in how it spends the money it raises from intermediaries and for it to find ways to operate more cost effectively. At the same time, others questioned the justification for such an increase.

Another popular topic was around intermediary predictions that adviser numbers will fall in the next year and beyond. Forum users debated the potential impact of AI taking over portions of the advice process, while others highlighted the ageing profile of existing advisers and the need to attract fresh talent.

Some cherry users were less convinced, with one broker stating that they had heard such gloomy predictions for decades and yet broker market share continues to increase as borrowers value their services.

Donna Hopton, director at cherry, said: “The cherry forum is a trusted area for brokers to discuss their concerns with peers, so it’s unsurprising that an emotive topic like regulator fees provoked such a response. While advisers recognise the importance of regulation, it’s understandable that they want to feel their fees are being used properly, and currently this seems to be in doubt.

“Many intermediaries are also keenly aware of the challenges the advice industry faces in the years ahead, particularly in dealing with new technology and bringing in younger advisers. Nobody understands the importance of proper advice better than brokers, but there are concerns that it will become more difficult to reach a wide proportion of consumers in the future.

“cherry allows advisers to be heard and we are heartened to see so many new users coming on board.”