The CII is calling for a single set of standards, a new complaint system and harsher sanctions to build professionalism in the industry in its first response to the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review discussion paper.
The paper, titled ‘A Professional Body for Retail Financial Services?’, outlines what professionalism would look like in a post-RDR environment.
The CII wants a single framework of ethics and tiered technical or skills-based standards and a single, independent professional standards board for the retail financial services sector with a disciplinary function and substantial public interest representation.
It is also calling for a new complaints system reporting to the professional standards board as well as the professional body’s own governing board and the introduction of meaningful sanctions to deal with serious breaches of the code of ethics.
CII president Lord Hunt of Wirral says the best way to restore consumer trust is to build professionalism across the industry so advisers match the attributes, capabilities and behaviours of professionals in other industries.
He says: “Professionalism is not simply about passing exams, important though this is. It is a declaration to the public at large that the advice given by an individual or firm is of the highest quality, based solely on the needs of the customer, provided by someone who is not exceeding his or her level of competence, governed by a code of ethics and subject to consistent monitoring, with effective discipline applied to those who transgress.”
CII chief executive Dr Sandy Scott says: “We will lead the debate and hope to develop a single framework of ethics for the sector. This paper sets out some ideas which we hope will meet the approval of our members and act as a basis for practical reform.”