FSA: Over 70% of advisers are RDR qualified

Research from the FSA suggests over 70 per cent of advisers have already obtained an RDR appropriate qualification.

Speaking at an FT Intermediary Forum event in London yesterday, FSA head of investments Linda Woodall (pictured) revealed the results of the latest research carried out by the regulator to assess firms’ RDR readiness.

Out of 3,897 firms that responded to the FSA’s survey, 71 per cent say they are already RDR qualified, with a further 22 per cent studying.

A further 69 per cent of firms say they have developed and begun to implement a plan to be RDR compliant across all the requirements. The same proportion of firms told the FSA they have begun to tell their clients, or have told their clients, about changes under the RDR.

However the FSA notes that smaller firms are ahead in communicating the RDR changes to clients, with only 36 per cent of larger firms having done so.

The regulator has identified gap fill as a “weaker area” of RDR progress. Although 67 per cent of advisers need to gap fill, to date 39 per cent have completed it while 42 per cent are in the process of doing so and 19 per cent are yet to start.

Woodall said the number of firms who have yet to start implementing an adviser charging model “remains a big concern”.

The FSA’s survey found that 59 per cent of firms are relying on an adviser charging model, but among larger firms the figure drops to 32 per cent.

Woodall said the FSA is stepping up its assessment of firms’ RDR readiness, and says more face-to-face time with firms to review progress will be an “important part” of the regulator’s work this year.

She said: “We are visiting the larger firms whose business models are more complicated, such as banks, building societies, insurers and networks to make sure they will be ready.

“RDR implementation will appear on the agenda for our supervisory meetings, for both small and larger firms, to ensure that the market as a whole is moving together towards practical solutions that will lead to the best overall outcomes.”

Woodall said the FSA has held briefings with larger firms to discuss specific RDR implementation risks, such as life offices being able to provide RDR compliant products, and networks ensuring their appointed representatives meet the RDR requirements.

She said the regulator itself has also been working to communicate the RDR to consumers with a leaflet advisers can give to existing clients and by speaking to consumer groups.