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Double standards on double charge

How wearyingly typical of the FSA to double-charge IFAs who switch mid-year from being appointed reps of a network to directly authorised and how amazing that, despite being the most powerful regulator in the world, the FSA’s admin and accounting systems are apparently unable to handle refunding this blatant overcharge.

Michael Lord, on behalf of the FSA, says if the FSA offered refunds, it would open up a can of worms. Do we offer them to everyone? Most right thinking people would consider that anyone wrongly double-charged jolly well should be given a refund. All the life companies, for example, have to refund any inadvertent double premium charge so why not the FSA? But, of course, in matters such as this, that is, extorting money from IFAs (and extortion is what this surely is – somebody tell me different, please, if you think you have a case) the FSA lives in its own self-righteous and unchallengeable little world.

Still, one may reasonably assume that if the FSA is so poorly run, 60 per cent of all performance targets missed last year that it cannot refund duplicated levies on IFA firms, it should have no problems with IFAs double-charging their clients to cover this double FSA charge. Ah, but no. To quote David Kenmir: “That’s different.” Isn’t it always? One set of rules for the FSA and ano- ther for us out here who always have to foot the bill (or two).

Julian Stevens

WDS Independent Financial Advisers,

Bristol

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