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Aifa’s tougher line on RDR wins support

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers says it has received over 100 letters of support from advisers after it put pressure on the FSA to back down on mandatory QCF level four qualifications.

Last week, was flooded with comments from advisers after revealing that Aifa had toughened its stance on the retail distribution review and was demanding the FSA drop mandatory requirements for existing advisers to reach new qualifications.

Director general Chris Cummings says the FSA should be encouraging IFAs to meet higher professional standards with regulatory incentives rather than imposing an “arbitrary cliff edge”.

He says: “If there is a good commercial reason for advisers to get the qualification, then they will. What we have to avoid is an arbitrary date that leads to the closure of good firms.”

Aifa pledged to launch a judicial review if the regulator fails to listen.

Almost 100 advisers have since posted comments on, mostly in praise of Cummings’ harder line on the RDR.

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “It is encouraging that Aifa has grown some teeth and now wishes to snarl at the FSA.

“The softly-softly approach does not always work and there comes a time when the regulator needs to be scared.”


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The staff at the FSA are only human, unless you explain how things work at the coal face you will always be at odds with them, particularly when small IFAs are opposed by more powerful vested interests which are obviously far more effective where lobbying is concerned.

    Today is was announced that nurses are to be qualified to degree level from 2013, no retrospection and apparently the NHS will pay for it all…

    IFAs have indicated to me that they are fully committed to improving standards and are prepared to be flexible if the end result is worth it for all concerned. All they expect in return for their efforts is some credit where it is due.

    At a time when we are all struggling with red tape, increased costs and reduced income is it too much to ask?

  2. The Mystery Shopper for IFAs 12th November 2009 at 10:30 am

    AIFA have been sitting on the fence for years doing absolutely nothing. Until Cummings was pushed into a corner and that he may have realised he will have no job after 2012. If we consider 80% if IFAs work on a commission model and have an average age of 54, then IFAs were/are doomed as we know them. AIFA never understood this. But Cummings technique has classicly been always to claim other peoples victories and not implement any real new ones of his own which require experience and knowledge of the IFA.

    I wonder whether AIFAs threat of a Judicial Review against the FSA is a hot air case and if so then all IFAs should go and join and be represented by the real people who understand such as the Adviser Alliance headed up by Alan Lakey..

    Time will tell!

  3. A Judicial Review must now be a one way street with no reverse gear for AIFA. Perhaps AIFA has woken up to the fact that there won’t be an AIFA post 2012.

    Perhaps Alan and his Adviser Alliance has also helped with the fence sitting of AIFA?

  4. Darwin's friend - adapt or become extinct! 12th November 2009 at 10:58 am

    If we advisers are so good and knowledgeable, why don’t we just sit the exams and prove our worth?

    I was talking to an investment adviser the other day who said he’d no idea about half of the syllabus in the CII J06 exam – how scary – no wonder the Ombudsman is being kept busy!!

    I can see why the FSA feels it is imperative that ALL advisers offering general financial advice should be able to prove proficiency and knowledge, which is easily done by taking an exam and hanging the certificate on your office wall (or scanning a copy onto your website; if you have embraced the modern era of technology, which it seems many IFAs have not).

    If you can’t prove your worth, shut up, get out and find a less demanding job. I see many 50-60 year old taxi drivers and they always seem to be very knowledgeable on an array of subjects even they too have passed no exams on the subjects they profess to know about – seems like a perfect job for all the whingers in our industry!

  5. Darwin's enemy - get real about what you really do 12th November 2009 at 11:17 am

    IFAs are nothing but introducers of business to third parties in the main and that’s been the case for many years and nothing changes. The real advisers are the fund managers, investment experts and the like. I’m afraid Darwin’s freind has fallen for the bullsh*t trap that’s been coming from the constant mantra the FSA pump out into the media. The FSA stole the IFA logo from life and pension salesman. The shame is some IFAs think they are something special. Get real and consider what we really do and get rid of the arrogance!

  6. Thank goodness AIFA are taking this stand. It’s all very well and good for some to say we should already have the knowledge to take these exams but that is not the point. The cost and time involved are ridiculous, especially in the current economic environment. The CII must be licking their lips at the prospect of all the additional income. Too many people accept the position and say it’s going to happen so let’s get on with it. Nonsense. It’s about time someone with some clout took a stand.
    My firm is a small IFA firm which has been in existence over 20 years. We have seen FIMBRA, PIA and now FSA. All have tried to impose their own mark on regulation. I used to respond to Consultation Papers many years ago. Not any more since my comments as a small IFA seemed to be completely ignored. The RDR is another classic example of a concept created by individuals not living in the real world.
    Get the banks and their advisers to put their houses in order and regulation would be infinitely easier for the rest of us and there would be no need for the likes of the RDR.

  7. Come on Darwin’s friend, if you are so good, stand by your comments ready to be counted if you are proved wrong post Dec 2012 and sing your own praises by using your real name (or would your potential clients not like to know how arrogant you are being?)
    Its also funny how most of the people who make personal attacks tend to do it using pseodonames. I can understand someone who is afraid of authority (i.e. the FSA) posting anon, but not when someone like you is arguing with your peers and trying to insult them without being willing to stand by your own comments.

  8. To anon at 1.39, the problem with not reesponding to discussion papers like the RDR is it’s a bit like not voting, we get what we deserve and really can’t argue with the outcome. If we respond to the RDR and are ignored, then we have every reason to argue and/or have a judicial review. There are bits of the (is it three) RDR papers I actually agree with and my responses have reflected that. I do think new entrants should be at Level 4 (although some thought needs to be in place as to how those part way to the old FPC are treated and how new advisers should be treated. I do think we should ALL as existing advisers be encouraged to achieve level 4 (I’m only 44), but this should be encouragement by relgulatory or PI dividends and phased in over time and not a stick or a cliff edge, especially for our more senior fellows (60 plus).
    So to anon, even if you don’t respond directly to the FSA about the RDR, do make your feelinsg known to AIFA so they can represent your feelings.

  9. Darwin's enemy - get real about what you really do 12th November 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Of course Darwins friend is going to stay anon as he is a wind up and is a Judas amongst IFAs. I wouldn’t trust him as far as he could be thrown!

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