SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy says the full implications of the crisis are currently impossible to assess and will play a huge part in shaping the future of retail financial services.
He says: “I believe it is time for the FSA to press the pause button on the RDR as the world in which the RDR was conceived no longer exists. We are going through the worst financial and economic earthquake of modern times and the full impact needs to be properly assessed before the radical changes envisaged in the RDR are introduced.”
Davy says he believes the move towards higher qualifications will continue regardless of how quickly the RDR proposals progress but he argues that now is not the time to change capital requirements or remuneration.
Tenet Group distribution and development director Keith Richards agrees a delay to the RDR is logical, considering the turmoil. He says: “Imposing changes at a time when the industry is under pressure might not serve advisers and clients well in the long term. There are enough challenges to face in the short term. But I think the industry itself should move forward with some elements such as competency and continued professional development to increase consumer confidence in the sector.”
But Towry Law chief executive Andrew Fisher says: “Only a King Canute-like perspective would want to try to push back the tide of professionalism based on better qualified advice and unbiased remuneration which will finally benefit all clients in 2012.”
There is also growing pressure on the FSA to consider a form of factoring as part of its adviser charging proposals.
Aifa and Royal London both say a ban on factoring will damage the regular-premium market and have a huge effect on adviser businesses.
The FSA is worried that factoring would lead to a form of provider bias being retained and is understood to be concerned that standardised factoring could fall foul of the Office of Fair Trading and European Commission.
But Aifa says there are a number of possible solutions, including having commercial factoring firms sitting between pro- viders and advisers.
An FSA spokesman says: “The fact remains that factoring to us does pose bias risk. But if there are strong calls from the industry they would be best considered during the consultation period later in the year.”