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Advisers’ regulatory fees soar by 15% to pay £18m cost of TCF

FSA fees for advisers are to rise by 10 to 15 per cent to cover the estimated £18m cost of its treating customers fairly initiative.

The increase comes on top of the 10 per cent hike advisers had to pay last year.

The new rise will be spread over three years and will pay for a 25 per cent increase in FSA staff to implement TCF.

FSA spokesman Robin Gordon-Walker says: “The last increase was for the cost of regulation as a whole, not just for TCF, and certainly not just for small firms. This money will be specifically used for implementing TCF and it should be treated as a separate exercise.”

Northern Ireland will be the first area targeted by the FSA’s TCF crackdown, which begins in March.

The process will include a regional roadshow, followed by structured visits or phone interviews of firms in the same area.

A quarter of firms which raise most concern will receive follow-up visits.

The regulator plans to assess 3,000 small firms this year and to cover 11,300 retail intermediaries in the next three years.

Argyle Financial director Phil Melville says: “It is not fair that small firms who are already treating their customers fairly will have to shoulder the cost of the initiative. Being told to enforce TCF is nonsense because if we did anything other than treat our customers fairly, we would be out of business.”

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