Why Brexit shouldn’t slow down regulatory progress

As the FCA’s sends a strong signal that it intends to clamp down on unsuitable advice, Apfa senior policy adviser Caroline Escott believes Brexit should not deter regulatory progress

Brexit might only have been mentioned once in the FCA’s mission paper consultation, but it looms large over the series of papers published this week. A good bit of news in last year’s consultation and the mission plan was the commitment to a review of the handbook.

This has now been delayed until we know more about the terms of our withdrawal from the EU. Although this makes sense, we hope progress will continue to be made on streamlining and improving accessibility of the handbook in the meantime and will work with the FCA and others to do so.

The FCA has also increased its annual funding requirement for 2017/18, citing its work on EU withdrawal as one of the reasons behind this shift.

Advisers should also take note of the focus on retirement income in the FCA’s business plan. Key stated issues and risks are the quality of advice around retirement income and that consumers do not want to or cannot take advice on their retirement savings.

There will also be a consideration of possible rule or legislative changes to close loopholes and deter fraudsters. I hope this will include an examination of rules which currently allow advisers to certify individuals as sophisticated investors, enabling rogue advisers to then recommend investments in unsuitable or fraudulent schemes.