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FCA admits ‘overwhelming’ small firms with information

Citywide Financial Partners managing director and FCA panel chair Clinton Askew

The FCA is looking at ways to make sure their communications to small firms are better focused on the areas that are relevant to them.

The regulator says it is weighing up options after its Smaller Business Practitioner Panel, an advisory group to the FCA, said the amount of information small firms were receiving from the FCA “was becoming overwhelming”.

In minutes from a recent FCA board meeting, the regulator says: “The board noted and discussed…the Smaller Business Practitioner Panel’s concern about the increasing volume of communications released by the FCA, which was becoming overwhelming for small firms.

“The board noted the executive was considering ways to help firms focus on items of particular relevance to them.”

The board minutes also note that the director of Taunton-based advice firm Keyte Chartered Financial Planners, Robin Keyte, had been reappointed as a member of the panel from 1 January until 31 December 2019.

Keyte also has a spot on the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review expert panel, which is tasked with taking forward a number of the project’s recommendations.

The Smaller Business Practitioner Panel is chaired by Citywide Financial Partners managing director and former IFA Association director Clinton Askew.

According to the panel’s website, Askew “represents the interests of smaller IFAs on the panel” while Keyte is “representing the social investment sector.”

Separately, the FCA has convened a further working group following concerns from another advisory panel about the lack of information on the FCA register about firms that are passporting into the UK from other countries.


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Nicholas Pleasure 21st March 2017 at 9:52 am

    The FCA should look at the rise of compliance companies like Simply Biz and question why they are necessary. A sound regulator, acting fairly and reasonably, with comprehensible and clear rules should not require the regulated to hire advisers to help them to meet the rules.

    That companies like Simply Biz are as successful as they are is abosulte proof that regulation of small businesses is way way over the top.

    BTW, this is no critisism of Simply Biz who, I am led to believe, do a great job for the firms that hire them. It is just that with sensible, proportionate regulation, they shouldn’t be necessary.

  2. It just goes to show how detached from reality the FCA really are, when they need to be told by independant panels, what we have been telling them (FCA) for years……

    Here I give you the bureauocratic ideal…… ignore and dismiss out of hand, the mass popular, act and agree with the “independant” panel you, yourself have appointed ?

  3. Hopefully they also realise the other things that they overwhelm small businesses with – regulation, due diligence requirements, bills to name a few.

  4. Its a strange problem – The regulator is communicating too much with the industry!

    Still, gives the usual suspects something else to moan about.

  5. I would argue its not the amount of information, its the way it is delivered. 1000 words document for something that could be communicated in 100 words or less. We are told to keep it simple stupid (KISS) when dealing with our clients and consumers, yet sometimes I think I need a degree in Astro Physics to try and understand what the regulator ACTUALLY wants!

  6. Unfortunately the jobsworths at the FCA believe quantity of output = effective regulation.

    Also has the effect of enhancing the Regulators position and therefore job prospects.

  7. Andrew Cartlidge 21st March 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Regulation has to be ‘alive’ if it is to develop to take account of change – which means that the FCA’s policy response to any issue will inevitably evolve over time. The greatest weakness in successive regulators’ approach has been their reliance upon the life assurance companies and networks for input on the regulation of the advisory process, rather than upon advisers themselves. Those most in touch with the advisory process and customer needs are advisers – not the head office people in life assurance companies and networks who have either never given advice, or were unsuccessful at it and sought head office management jobs instead. If most industry influence on the regulator is accorded to those who have never advised or met a real customer (and it is) then it is no surprise that far from perfect policies have emerged over the years. In formulating policy the FCA needs to listen more to those who are actually delivering advice, instead of supping coffee and eating biscuits with those who spend their lives in interminable meetings, whilst never meeting customers of their industry. Advisory regulation would and could have been far less complex if the regulators had taken more notice of those whose activities they were and are regulating in the advisory arena.

    • You did read this part right:

      “The Smaller Business Practitioner Panel is chaired by Citywide Financial Partners managing director and former IFA Association director Clinton Askew.According to the panel’s website, Askew “represents the interests of smaller IFAs on the panel””

  8. Parallels with excessively long SR’s ~ which the FCA has admitted is a problem ~ might well be drawn. A direct result of ever more and and ever more voluminous regulatory updates is less and less interest in, understanding of and engagement with them. The only people who have the time necessary to keep up with them all are those paid a salary, whose sole function is to do nothing else. For those of us trying to make a decent living out of actually doing the job of advising and servicing clients, the reality is rather different. To this, the regulator appears to be resolutely oblivious.

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