FSA chief executive Hector Sants has apologised for the regulator’s pre-emptive rejection of the Treasury select committee’s report into the retail distribution review.
The TSC’s report into the RDR, released in July, calls for the January 1, 2013 implementation date to be delayed by a year to give advisers more time to meet the QCF level four qualification requirements, alongside a softening of the cliff-edge deadline for experienced advisers.
The FSA released an embargoed response alongside publication of the report rejecting the MPs’ key recommendation and stating it is committed to the January 1, 2013 deadline.
Giving evidence to the committee this morning, Sants said media pressure lead to the FSA’s statement.
He said: “I am extremely sorry if the impression we treated this committee with contempt has arisen. The press release was somewhat clumsily worded, it was reacting to media pressure. But that does not in any way reflect my, or the FSA’s, commitment to full accountability to this group.
“It was unfortunate timing to release the report with the summer coming up, we were concerned the press were going to report it as RDR delayed, that the media were going to run stories about the RDR being killed and that preparations were going to be disrupted and the option of careful consideration of your recommendations would have been removed for us.”
TSC members have attacked the move. Labour MP George Mudie accused the FSA of “arrogance” adding that it demonstrated the regulator’s lack of accountability. Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom said it showed contempt for the work of the committee.
TSC chair and Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie wrote a letter to FSA chief executive Hector Sants slamming the pre-emptive response saying it showed no adequate consideration” had been given to the report. Sants wrote back to assure the committee it was taking its recommendation seriously.
The FSA has since submitted its formal response to the committee’s report but the TSC has yet to release it.