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Calculator fails to add up for menu

Thousands of IFAs are unable to access the FSA’s payment menu commission calculator with less than two weeks to go before the regulator’s deadline.

Lowes compliance manager Neil McLachlan says the FSA’s technical support centre told him it had been having tremendous problems with the online calculator and it had been promised it would be fixed but that it could not give any assurance as to when this might be.

McLachlan was told to email the centre, saying he had tried unsuccessfully to log in, so he will not be fined in future if his payment menu is not in place on time.

The calculator, which was developed as an aid to firms in November 2004, is intended to enable firms selling investment products to calculate their maximum commission and corresponding market average, for inclusion in the menu they will be obliged to show clients from June 1.

FSA spokeswoman Vanessa Wood says some companies are having problems due to security systems and that fixing the website is a priority but she could not give a timeframe for the issues to be resolved. She points out that the manual procedure for calculating market averages is set out in the FSA’s menu rules which are available on the website.

McClachlan says: “We are technologically one of the best-endowed IFA firms with our own IT division and we cannot get on to the site. They have been recommending the calculator since the back end of last year but it is still not online.”


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