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Dear Rob and Roderic…

Our resident agony uncles and The Ideas Lab directors Rob Reid and Roderic Rennison answer adviser queries

I am reading a lot about Aifa and others suggesting that the FSA – along with the Conservatives – may decide that the final exam requirements are changed. It really worth starting them now?

Rob Reid director The Ideas Lab
Failing to act now simply means you are consiously taking the risk that these hopes are fufilled. If they are not, then no one other than the FSA is going to give you an extension, nor are any of the lobbyists going to take any responsibility for your eventual plight.

Roderic Rennison director The Ideas Lab
The FSA has been consistent in saying that those who sit and achieve diploma status can do so on a “no regrets” basis if they achieve the required number of credits. When the revised examination requirements are announced in 2010, there may be a need for additional CPD but not to take more examinations. The earlier you start, the more chances you will be giving yourself to pass within the time scales that have been set.

I am in the process of revising my advisers’ contracts and, having obtained a quote from my solicitor, I think he is ripping me off. Can you suggest where I can get a standard contract to give them?

Rob Reid
You can get books that describe how to do open heart surgery but unless you are mad you would not attempt it. It’s so easy to trip up legally – ask some failed litigants or those trapped in contracts and/or employers who could not enforce contracts and who have had to accept the loss of clients when advisers leave.

Roderic Rennison
This is a shortsighted approach and you need to obtain advice from a suitably qualified lawyer – preferably an employment lawyer with experience of financialservices. You don’t say if your advisers are employed or self-employed or a combination of both. This alone will necessitate different drafting.

I am looking to move my clients’ assets on to a platform but I am being told that I need to take account of individual client circumstances. Aren’t there
any shortcuts?

Rob Reid
TFF applies. There is no short cut and any firm who actively promotes the concept that you can sit back and automatically sweep clients on to a platform without a comparison in individual circumstances should have to be subject to FSA authorisation and controls. That is unlikely so unless they are to provide an indemnity to you and your firm, stay well clear.

Roderic Rennison
The short answer is no. The requirements are clear and clients need to be treated fairly (yes, TCF is relevant) and you need to demonstrate this. One size does not fit all and clients need to be provided with a comparison that enables them to understand the costs and the risks. If the exercise is undertaken effectively, you will benefit from satisfied clients and longerlasting client relationships which will in turn be remunerative.

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