PFS says reward progressive firms with lower fees

The Personal Finance Society has again urged the FSA to reward progressive firms with regulatory dividends, saying it has done nothing “of substance” on the issue.

Speaking at the Chartered Insurance Institute RDR conference last week, PFS chief executive Fay Goddard argued that firms which put more time and resources into compliance and professional development should be rewarded with lower regulatory fees.

She said: “The FSA has talked a lot about regulatory dividends and I am yet to see anything of substance to come out. It is about time that firms who have genuinely invested in professional development in training, compliance, product planning and in their back-office systems get some kind of regulatory dividend. Why should these firms pay the same fees and be subject to the same costs of regulation as others that do nothing?”

Goddard also revealed that the professional body is working on guidance with the Association of Independent Financial Advisers and other bodies to help advisers determine whether the advice they give is independent or restricted and assist them with disclosure.

She expressed concern that the requirement on advisers to explain to clients how advice is restricted will add to consumer confusion.

Goddard said: “We have been very aware of this issue for a while and have been talking to Aifa and to other bodies on this. As a result, we are intending to produce some guidance on independent and restricted advice by liaising with these other bodies. We need an industry agreed position on this, together with some sort of oversight by the FSA.”

Goddard added that the CII intends to launch its QCF level four alternative assessment in March rather than Q4 this year, as originally planned.