Advisers slam ‘ineffective’ FCA over 10% fee hike

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Advisers have criticised the “ineffective” FCA after the regulator defended a 10 per cent increase in advisers’ fees.

This week the FCA confirmed that firms in the A13 block will pay £74.9m in regulatory fees in 2015/16, up from £68m in 2014/15. The A13 fee block relates to advisers who do not hold client money.

The regulator also confirmed its minimum fee will increase from £1,000 to £1,084, the first rise since 2010.

The FCA first set out its fee proposals in a consultation paper in March.

It says it received responses from an adviser trade body and 25 advice firms arguing against the increase in fees.

Respondents argued that many consumers cannot access advice and said fees should take into account other regulatory costs.

The FCA says: “We acknowledge that our fees are a cost to advisers which may be passed on to consumers. However, we believe those fees enable us to meet our objectives, including protecting consumers, resulting in a benefit for consumers.

“Our fees are set to recover the funding of the resources we need to achieve our statutory objectives as set out in our business plans each year.

“They cannot be reduced to take account of the fees and levies that firms pay to other organisations.”

The FCA’s three overarching objectives are consumer protection, protecting and enhancing the integrity of the UK financial system, and promoting competition.

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “I am willing to pay more for regulation to protect consumers, but only if we see the results of that. The fact that Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies are increasing shows the regulator has been ineffective in protecting consumers.”

Investment Quorum chief executive Lee Robertson says: “There is a real concern about the rising cost of delivering advice. That means more and more consumers will choose to do it themselves, and will not be protected from potentially poor decisions.”