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‘Extend DTI exemption to IFAs’

A Department of Trade and Industry decision to exempt general insurance and mortgage advisers from having to file a statutory audit should be extended to include the majority of advisers, according to a compliance expert.

The DTI says amendments to the Companies Act 1985 mean that from October, general insurance and mortgage advisers will only have to prepare abbreviated accounts rather than a statutory audit.

But Compliance.co.uk managing director Gary Dixon says the decision does not go far enough and should include the majority of IFAs.

Dixon considers the only exception should be advisers that handle client money as regulatory safeguards need to be remain in place.

The DTI says the decision was reached after lengthy discussion and consultation with the industry and is an attempt to lighten the regulatory load after the introduction of mortgage and GI regulation.

It also announced it is to restore exemptions for disclosure of staff details for smaller companies, such as IFAs, which were removed in the same act.

Dixon says: “I do not understand why they cannot ext- end the same exemption to smaller IFAs. There is no logic to still requiring small IFAs to need audits but not mortgage and GI brokers, except per- haps when firms are handling client money.”

Johnston Financial Services managing director Adrian Johnston says: “Both I and my accountant cannot see why we are different to GI or mortgage brokers. What added consumer protection do these rules provide anyway?”

A DTI spokeswoman says: “We have had a consultation with the industry and we feel that the present rules are appropriate.”

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