Referring to Matt Timmins’ excellent comments on grandfathering, I would like to add to the debate. Two years ago, Nick Bamford and I were exchanging our opposite views via this page. Nick is completely against grandfathering whereas, given certain circumstances, I am for it. There are a series of alternative assessments available that would cost less and provide better evidence of competency than any exam ever could.
If the adviser has been known to the FSA for years and has proven to be totally competent, why do we need another piece of paper on the wall?
Surely, an efficient regulator would have got rid of those unsuitable to practise long before now.
I have always taken the view that if the regulator’s agenda is to get rid of the old advisers, exams would be a perfect way to achieve this aim. Being able to tick all the right boxes is one thing but putting up with undue stress that the examination scenario inevitably generates is quite another.
The Tory MP Mark Garnier is spot on, he can see how this is going to go if the problem is not fixed. The end of 2012 will see hundreds of IFAs calling it a day or falling off the cliff edge, as Tim explained it. Where will their orphaned clients turn to for advice? Hello, high-street bank, we know you have done a wonderful job so here is another cash cow.
I hope that common sense will prevail. It would be a travesty if millions of clients were driven away from IFAs who have proved trustworthy over many years to other sources of advice, many of whom have badly let down this country through greed, if you get the drift. I would be inter-ested to hear views on both sides of the argument, from IFAs and the regulators. Some of the latter are, I believe, against the RDR in this particular aspect.
Barry Johnson Financial Services