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Ellis warning over designatory letters

Moves by the FSA to reduce dramatically the number of designatory letters IFAs can after their name may add to consumer confusion.

The FSA wants IFAs to

have one set of three designatory letters representing the revamped, higher-level FPC exam it hopes is eventually brought in.

But the regulator is also allowing IFAs to continue using existing designatory letters.

LIA public affairs director John Ellis says the letters will “effectively add another layer of confusion” to the present situation rather than simplify it because they will exist alongside the 29 designatory letters currently allowed.

It will take a generation before the old designatory letters fall out of use since predominantly new entrants will be taking the exam. Advisers taking the new exam will be required to put the new letters after their name. The exam will not be obligatory for those who already have FPC.

Ellis says he is pleased the efforts of those IFAs who have reached a higher standard will still be acknowledged, as will membership of the various professional bodies.

The FSA plans to discuss the issue of letters at a meeting with exam providers on September 4.

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