FSA issues warning on Difs advice

The FSA has warned advisers it will be difficult to remain independent after the retail distribution review if they advise on distributor-influenced funds.

Speaking at the Tax Incentivised Savings Association conference on Difs this week, FSA head of investment policy Peter Smith said advisers would find it difficult, but not impossible, to continue to advise on Difs and remain independent.

He said: “Any conflicts of interest need to be managed in a way where the firm ensures it is providing unbiased and unrestricted advice.
“We are aware some firms recommend their Difs to the majority of clients and we are concerned this undermines their position as independent today, never mind in the future.”

Smith said the regulator will also watch restricted firms to ensure any advice given on Difs is suitable for individual clients.