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Foot to the floor

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12-month reprieve from the RDR would create more problems for the corporate sector than it would solve

Just as the industry though it was getting its head around the Retail Distribution Review, along comes the Treasury Select Committee with the hint of a promise of respite, at least for another year.

It is ironic that the corporate sector that was only brought within scope of the RDR two years ago, a full two years after the private client side of the financial advisory community, is now virtually unanimous in its desire to get on with the project.

There may be some, but for all the arguments and criticisms we have had along the way, and I have supported many of them, I have yet to speak to a corporate adviser or provider that wants the project held back.

Yes there are reasons why a delay could be beneficial. In fact it could be argued that another year’s delay would allow the private sector, through factoring, the resources to do a better job of implementing auto-enrolment across the employers of the UK. Many businesses will see their employer duties go live in 2013, so a delay would profit many advisers, who would be able to build up considerable commission bases implementing schemes for these companies.

But the feedback I am getting is one of regulatory fatigue. Instigating such big changes require decisive action and having got their businesses on track, slackening the pace would create the risk of some organisations taking their eye off the ball. And it would penalise those businesses that have done the professional thing and spent money and energy getting their house in order by the deadline.

It is a testament to the professionalism of the corporate sector that appetite for delay is so low. Dealing with businesses on a regular basis as you do, the transition is not so life-changing. But that is not to undermine the challenges ahead.

Putting off the evil day only prolongs the anticipation of the pain to come.

John Greenwood, editor

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