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Aifa in plea for rethink over charging and exam deadline

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

Addressing an all-party Parliamentary group on insurance and financial services last month, Aifa director general Stephen Gay said the regulator should be flexible toward those who engage with the RDR process but do not make the deadline.

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

FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll said announcing flexibility on the deadline now would remove the impetus to reach QCF level four by January 1, 2013. She said: “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 called on the FSA to be clear about how it would ensure a level playing field between bank advisers and IFAs over charging structures, to release a detailed implementation plan for the review and to deliver regulatory dividends. He asked the regulator to rethink its ban on provider factoring on regular premiums to avoid damaging the regular savings market and for the FSA to “dust off” its original consumer access objective.

Gay also asked the FSA to reconsider the introduction of a long stop for complaints.

He said: “We need to consider the question of a liability long stop for advisory firms to bring financial services in line with the statute of limitations. The inability to quantify liability makes it difficult for firms to be sold on as going concerns.”

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