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Certainty was priority over MPs’ probe

The regulator published its final rules on professionalism, despite the ongoing Treasury select committee RDR inquiry, to give advisers certainty, says FSA head of investment policy Peter Smith.

In November, the select committee launched a consultation into whether the RDR will achieve its stated objectives and set the closing deadline for written submissions for January 17. The committee will now decide whether it needs to take further action based on the written evidence.

The regulator originally planned to publish its professionalism policy statement in December but deferred the paper until last week.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Smith says: “The reason we did not ask the board to make the rules in December was because we were busy crafting our own submission to the Treasury select committee inquiry. Practically, we needed to prioritise that. We thought it was important to think carefully about what we wanted to say to the committee.”

Smith argues that to delay the professionalism rules pending the outcome of the inquiry would have meant uncertainty for those advisers working towards the RDR.

He says: “No doubt, the Treasury select committee will have quite a lot of evidence to sift through. We will be interested to see the results of its inquiry once it has finished. But we have been working and consulting on these issues for over four years now. We are continually told by advisers that we need to grant certainty to people.

“We were very clear in our own minds that we were deferring by a month rather than putting things off for any longer in order to provide that certainty the market has been asking us for.”

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