Siobhan Mail, Director at Wales-based Seer Green Financial Planning with clients across North Wales, said: “The next 12 months will bring major challenges to the financial services sector unlike anything the industry has seen before.

“The implementation of the long awaited Retail Distribution Review will completely change the way financial services are delivered to the public and corporate clients.

“All advisers remaining in the industry from January 1 will need to have attained a higher level of qualification by that date – resulting in fewer, but better qualified advisers in the UK; something that Seer Green has been preparing well for. As well as offering a better, more professional service to clients, it will also hopefully raise the public’s perception of financial advisers.

“As equally welcome and long overdue is the ending of the payment-by-commission policy for advisers from pension and investment product providers. All future payments will be open and transparent fees agreed by the client in advance, as already happens with solicitors and accountants.

“The other on-going challenge for the sector is the continuing roll-out of Pension Auto Enrolment, which puts responsibility firmly on employers to ensure every eligible employee in the UK not currently in a registered pension will be enrolled by 2018. We are already working with businesses across Wales to ensure their pensions are delivered in the most efficient, cost-effective and manageable way.

“While remaining optimistic that a resolution will be found to the US fiscal cliff fears, any failure to do so will almost certainly tip the US into recession next year, and that will have a huge knock on effect globally.

“The other area of potential economic concern is Europe. Progress has been made with agreement to give the European Central Bank the authority to supervise banks across the region which should lead to a more coherent banking and fiscal union. We expect Europe to be a little quieter in 2013.”

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