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Are the FSA’s mystery-shopping exercises worthwhile and can we rely on the results?

Yes: 25%
No: 75%

No “It depends on the quality of the people they are using but I dont believe they do a lot of good.”
-Gillian Colsell, Apple Financial Services

No “I do not believe they are worthwhile. I believe there are better ways of assessing an advisers competence.”
-Chris de Mellow, De Mellow & Co

No “The sample of firms is too small and the FSA fails to distinguish between different types of advice.”
-Alaistair John Foster, Foster & Co

No “Like many other things the FSA does, these surveys are flawed and inconclusive. They should have attributed results to individual categories of advisers.”
-Ray Parker, Parker Financial Services

No “Mystery shopping is of limited relevance because you cannot gain an understanding of how good or bad a firm is by a brief enquiry.”
-Mark Botfield, Tridale Brokers

No “It is a sneaky way of doing it because they are lying through their teeth and it is not very ethical. They are supposed to be whiter than white and they set people up to catch us out.”
-Alan Tarr, Financial Solutions

Yes “I think that they do serve a purpose, to some extent. My concern would be firstly the size of the sample that is used and also the geographic areas. If these could be bigger and more widespread, then I would feel that the results would be far more representative.”
-Peter Page, Research Independent Financial Services

Yes “They do serve a purpose and I think that the rogues in the industry need to be driven out. My concern, though, is that some of the results can be taken out of context and misrepresent the IFA community as a whole.”
/David Holland, Price Mackenzie & Co

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