Advisers have slammed Santander for its “11th hour” suspension of 800 investment advisers with inadequate training just three weeks before the RDR comes into force.
Last week, all investment advisers were told they must attend a six week “bespoke intensive training programme” on client suitability and fact finding.
Santander says it was not forced to make the changes by the FSA and the decision came from the results of an internal review ahead of the RDR.
A Santander spokeswoman says: “Ahead of the RDR, we are taking the time to consider the right solution for all stakeholders. As part of this process, it was identified that our advisers require additional support and training to meet the expected standards.”
Affluent Financial Planning managing director Carl Melvin says: “It is frankly ridiculous to make changes at this stage with all the resources it has. Why am I ready and Santander is not?
“It is a much bigger issue than the RDR and exposes a culture that does not pay attention to proper planning and focuses on selling products.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of advice Danny Cox says: “It is really strange to see this being done so late. Everyone has understood the need to get the right training for the RDR for years so this comes at the 11th hour.”
Clayden Associates managing director Dan Clayden says: “It is clearly very serious as Santander is taking its entire team off the road and not just tweaking things. It is surprising at this late stage because the RDR has been around for so long.”
An FSA spokeswoman says: “It was a decision that the firm chose to make.”
In September, Santander outlined its plans to offer face-to-face investment advice post-RDR to customers with existing savings and investments of at least £25,000.
The investment advice service will be restricted to products from Santander Asset Management.