HSBC is set to launch an investment service this year. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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It is an unfortunate truth that most investment advice is quite simple and unexciting: rewards are reaped by consistent good behavior and the beneficial effects of compounding.A further pitfall is that good advice is something your average consumer is not generally prepared to pay for (perhaps because, like a maturing wine, it will take quite a while before the quality of that advice is proven).Why? Because I think high street banks have a critical role to play in filling the so-called "advice gap" for millions of financial consumers – those who need financial direction, but can't afford it or don't seek it.In the expectation that other banks will follow suit (HSBC is set to launch an investment service this year) there is, of course, a powerful school of thought that we should never trust the banks to sell us anything again.Santander's foray back into the advice market is a start, but I fear it will do little to solve the problem I have described, since its new service will cater for customers who have more than £50,000 to invest and it will only recommend Santander's own products. Yet it is a sign of how the big banks are thawing in their attitude to providing advice.
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