Proposals by the European Commission to ban execution-only services will drive up costs and limit choice, a trade body has warned. (src)The distinction is between advisory brokerage, where people buying stocks and shares do so through an advisor (perhaps an IFA or a bank) which offers them advice on how to allocate their money and sometimes even manages the funds directly, and execution-only service, where the punter makes their own mind up, does their own research and takes on their own risks. Clearly the latter is cheaper, but it is also in many regards more responsible: that's no slight on IFAs or their clients, but an observation that taking hold of your own pension pot or ISA can be a liberating thing. I should declare an interest, as it is the model I follow for my own investments.To be clear, this is not another 'straight bananas' Euromyth: there is a consultation document out there which contains this proposal. There is, though, a bit of politics. Some commentators suggest, and with good reason, that the rather bare presentation of this option as an alternative to a somewhat saner, if still fairly onerous, form of regulation is the Commission's way of setting out its preference with a nuclear option in full view in case the financial services industry does not comply. This sounds like a classic government strong-arm on the consultation, but nevertheless the Commission is probably, currently, less convinced about an outright ban on execution-only than it appears.Nevertheless, execution-only needs to be defended, not least because some people will spy an opportunity to increase the monies which the financial services industry can manage. Although it is not a large part of the market by weight of money, it will account for many investors and particularly, many poorer investors. If we want a world where people take responsibility for their own financial arrangements, we need to have cheap ways for poorer people to access the most effective forms of saving and investment. An advisory service is beyond the reach of many people, and the FSA seems hellbent on making it more expensive yet.Positively, some people with lower personal net worth find that they are entirely able to investigate and decide on the various options which the markets present them with, and invest their own money. Speaking from experience, I would say that they can even find they enjoy the process of research, analysis, assessment, making their own decision and bearing the consequences. Cutting them out of the markets because they do not go through government-approved channels (nor pay for the privilege) is a regressive step.