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Advisers divided over potential for RDR implementation changes from TSC consultation

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The Treasury Select Committee’s consultation into the Retail Distribution Review reflects a change of opinion at the heart of government, but opinion is divided as to whether it will change the way it is implemented.

Michael Whitfield, chief executive of Thomsons Online Benefits says the concern shown by MPs on the TSC reflects a change of mood in government. He believes the timeline for introduction of the new rules, which outlaw commission and factoring, could be changed.
The TSC first raised concerns over the RDR in November, but since then criticism of the project has grown.
It has called for written evidence to be filedby interested parties by January 17.
TSC chairman Andrew Tyrie MP has gone on record saying he appreciates the problem the RDR could create for consumers in reducing the number of advisers operating in the industry, thereby reducing access to advice.
The FSA has already delayed publication of its RDR professionalism policy statement, due last month, on account of the TSC’s consultation.
Whitfield says: “It strikes me there is a change in the view within government about the RDR. To me the signals are pointing towards a full inquiry. Change is coming and corporate advisers still need to prepare their businesses for fees , but it feels like there has been a see-change in opinion and we could get a sensible approach to qualifications and to the treatment of group personal pensions, and possibly a delay in implementation of some parts of the project.”
Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Group says: “They may give the industry a few months extra on qualifications, but when it comes to fees, I think the FSA will carry on full steam ahead.”

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