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Aifa: We have remained consistent over RDR

Aifa’s RDR policy aims to strengthen professionalism.

Recent weeks have seen much political interest in the RDR. Throughout the RDR’s lifespan, Aifa has remained consistent in both its objectives and messages – principally that the RDR must allow greater consumer access to independent, impartial advice. Anything else is a regulatory failure.

Aifa’s elected council, with constituent representation from firms of all sizes, has used this principle to guide all negotiations.

Aifa has regularly reiterated its support for demonstrable, high levels of professionalism. Our purpose has been clear – to ensure any changes from the RDR result in a system where competence is rewarded. Aifa recognises experience is a key factor. We have worked hard to ensure competence does not simply equate to examinations. We have convinced FSA of the value of vocational routes.

Aifa does not support exams as the only route to evidence competence but it does support some form of additional evidence of competence in the move to higher levels of professionalism for all advisers. Allowing bank advisers to continue to offer “advice” without further evidence of competence is not good for consumers. Age discrimination legislation makes clear that if a 60-yearold can continue with FPC, then so can a 30-year-old single-tied adviser. Therefore, Aifa does not support the process of grandfathering.

Where a lack of common sense has existed, Aifa has campaigned hard for change. For example, professional bodies’ support for QCF level six in RDR consultations would not have benefited consumers and would have reduced access to advice. Aifa successfully lobbied to have this proposal dropped.

This success shows both the importance of Aifa’s work and that there is some flexibility among legislators. However, this flexibility, and the recent comments over the efficacy of the RDR from some Treasury select committee members should not be mistaken as an indication that change will necessarily occur. There have been no public pronouncements of the downfall of the RDR and Mark Hoban’s recent statements in the Westminster Hall debate offered no indication that it may be scrapped. Perhaps even more important, HM Treasury has been consistent in its messaging – the RDR will go ahead.

We will continue to raise questions of cost and timing but member interests are not best served by those unwilling to recognise the political landscape. If we do not engage with the issues that really matter, in the hope the RDR will disappear, we risk damaging the profession further and letting members down.

Aifa will continue to campaign for the best outcome for professional independent, impartial advice.

This means allowing for an appropriate, pragmatic transitional period, without cliff-edge dates, for competence to be evidenced through vocational routes rather than examinations, and for a regulatory structure that strengthens the profession.

Andrew Strange is director of policy at Aifa


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There are 14 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “Aifa does not support the process of grandfathering”
    Therefore it does not support older advisers, as noted by the TSC, but happily continues to collect their subscription if they are daft enough to continue paying it.

  2. It is interesting to see the step-change in AIFA’s thinking over the years. The information below will tell its own story.

    On 29/11/2002 – upon publication of CP157 it was announced,

    “AIFA is also pleased about the grandfathering clauses as it “appears” that advisers already in possession of qualifications will not be required to resit exams.

    AIFA feels it should be up to firms to decide who needs to brush up on particular skills, and that there does not need to be a blanket statutory requirement imposed.”

    By July 2007 its view had modified somewhat,

    “Higher qualifications are being proposed and could present the biggest challenge for members. We will need to consider what changes we support, if any, and our position on grandfathering, should FSA press ahead with this proposal.”

    Now we have,

    “Advisers at the end of their career who will not reach level four qualifications may engender sympathy but do not make a compelling case for grandfathering”

    What is AIFA doing> Supporting its membership or going with the flow?

  3. AIFA, like all othe interested parties, are only interested in their own existance and longevity. The PFS is no different, and any trade body that purports to support advisers are just liars.
    They are all a waste of space.
    This week I wrote to 300 clients telling them I was no longer able to advise them.
    How is this TCF??
    Pathetic do-gooders who will finally achieve their aims and drive the public into the hands of the bank assurers

  4. As AIFA is a trady body, paid for by its members, it should not have an opinion of its own but consult its members and voice their concerns and opinions only.

  5. pretty consistent 5th November 2010 at 4:39 pm

    The FSA has been pretty consistent over RDR as well. They have not listened to one word AIFA has said or for that matter didn’t say.

    The relationship between AIFA and the FSA is like that of Chamberlain’s & Adolf:

    “My good friends this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time.”

  6. What catches my eye in this report is that both Hoban and the Treasury are, on the one hand, making pronouncements about how the RDR will go ahead and yet, on the other, trotting out the same stale old lie that the FSA is entirely independent of government. If that were true, then how could it fall within the power of government to scrap the FSA? And why would either the Treasury or Hoban be offering any comments as to whether or not the RDR will go ahead and/or in what form?

    It simply doesn’t wash, so come on guys, cut the crap and just admit that the FSA is an instrument of government and of the Treasury. The only way in which it’s independent of government is in its funding.

    In any event, the RDR may be well be trampled underfoot and squashed by the EU powers that be, so let’s just wait and see. Maybe Hoban will yet have to scuttle away into the shadows with his tail between his legs.

  7. So, the following statement has now been attibuted to AIFA

    “RDR must allow greater consumer access to independent, impartial advice”

    So how does booting 1,000s of experienced advisers out of the industry achieve that?


  8. By the time the end of 2012 comes around advisers will have had 5.5 years to pass just 5 exams – that hardly a tall order.

    If you were stood on a beach and noticed the tide coming in, you wouldn’t just stand there, would you?

    The fact that a number of advisers have ignored RDR and, in particular the examination requirement, is the equivalent of letting the tide come in without moving. To carry on the analogy, they are now desperately hoping for a lifeboat (aka a potential Parliamentary review of RDR) to save them.

    Those that didn’t notice the tide are sadly victims of Darwinian inevitability.

  9. It is one thing not allowing ‘grandfathering’ of advisers with only FPC under their belts.

    It is quite another that people already Diploma qualified (or even those holding Chartered status) have to evidence ‘gap-filling’ or take up-dated exams.

    Bloody ridiculous unless all doctors, accountants, solicitors, teachers………..are to be forced to do the same when some unelected quango decides to raise their professional standards.

  10. “RDR must allow greater consumer access to independent, impartial advice”

    Thats a good one! Supporting the ‘no commission’ choice of remuneration will completely work against that one.

    It’s a joke…………who’s pulling who’s strings?

  11. If AIFA, the FSA & Mark Hoban all belonged to the same club, its moto could be “kick an IFA a day”

  12. Again no mention whatsoever about commission. I suggest everyone cancel their subscription because it is a complete waste of money. The AIFA are not working on our behalf despite the above advetising.

  13. Advertisement? A long list of hollow boasts and lame excuses? Reads more like a suicide note to me. Pack up and go home AIFA – you’re not even a joke, you’re an embarrassment.

  14. The voice of the likes of Tenet, Sesame and other large firms.

    We all know what they want don’t we.

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