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Defence Union complains to EU over adviser qualifications

The IFA Defence Union has written to the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission, claiming enforcing qualifications on financial advisers is a restraint of trade.

Founder and chairman Evan Owen says if the FSA makes higher qualifications mandatory, it could distort the market. He says there is no proof that a one-off qualification will raise the professional bar.

Owen says: “It is unfair to make people who have been trading successfully for years obtain higher qualifications. European regulations do not impose such restrictions, so this could mean UK advisers would be unable to compete equally across all borders.”

Baronworth director Colin Jackson says: “Many advisers have a massive store of knowledge and experience that they can draw on in their day-to-day dealings with clients but as you get older it becomes increasingly more difficult to study for, and pass, examinations.”

Informed Choice joint managing director Martin Bamford says: “The sector has become polarised between those who want higher qualifications and those who do not. Some people think that experience counts for more than it does and I think that the people who are making the most noise in opposition of higher qualifications are not committed to financial services as a profession.”

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