Aifa calls for flexibility over RDR deadline


Aifa has called for greater flexibility over the RDR deadline as part of an eight point plan to improve the review’s delivery.

Speaking last night at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance and Financial Services session – which examined the impact of the RDR on advisers – Aifa director general Stephen Gay said the FSA should take a reasonable attitude toward those who engage with the process but do not make the deadline.

He said: “I would like the Financial Services Authority to provide some degree of reassurance they will take a reasonable attitude to those whose genuine best endeavours do not make the deadline.”

Gay also called for the FSA to be clear about how it would ensure a level playing field between banks advisers and IFAs over charging and for them to release an implementation plan for the review which outlines success criteria, assesses any risks and sets out mitigating actions the regulator will take to ensure the RDR achieves its stated outcomes.

FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll said she agrees with a number of points raised by Gay during his presentation but said announcing flexibility over the deadline now would remove the impetus for advisers to reach QCF Level 4 by January 1 2013.

She said: “I think you can understand I am not going to say now, yes of course we will be reasonable, because that would not be fair on the people who are getting on with it.”

Gay said he was not confident of an agreement with the FSA over the calls, despite the FSA’s flexibility in the past over the qualification level required by RDR as well as the specifics of fee charging.

In response to the question, which was asked by Labour MP and Treasury select committee member Andy Love, Gay said: “No I am not confident, and I am not happy that agreement can be reached.

“We are closer to each other on core principles but the devil was always going to be in the detail with RDR.”

Gay’s other requests were that the question of liability long stop be addressed to ensure that advisory firms can be sold on as going concerns; that the FSA make good on its concept of regulatory dividends and that it dust off its original consumer access objective and take a more pro-active role in developing a regime which allows greater numbers to access advice.

He also asked that the regulator re-think the question of provider factoring on regular premiums to avoid damaging the regular savings market and for everyone involved in the RDR to do all they can to support advisers reaching QCF level 4.

Nicoll said the FSA was continuing to provide support and educational materials to advisers across the whole market.

Nicoll said: “I would link Stephen’s point about being reasonable as the deadline comes with recognising that all stakeholders who are involved now need to give as much support to everybody as we possibly can.”