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FCA and Treasury to face MPs over advice review

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Treasury minister Harriet Baldwin is among the senior policymakers expected to attend two oral evidence sessions of the Work and Pensions select committee next month.

Baldwin is set to give evidence on 16 September as part of the committee’s probe into the availability and affordability of financial advice in the aftermath of the introduction of pension freedoms in April.

She will be joined in the session by FCA director of strategy and competition Chris Woolard and director of policy David Geale.

Committee chairman Frank Field is expected to use the opportunity to follow up on his letter to pensions minister Ros Altmann, in which he demanded more data on Government targets for the performance of Pension Wise.

Altmann is not currently expected to attend.

The session will come a week after the committee takes oral evidence from advice groups as well as consumer and industry representatives.

The Pensions Advisory Service, Citizens Advice and the Association of British Insurers are among the groups hoping to attend a session on 7 September, although a final list of witnesses has yet to be confirmed.

One group definitely attending, however, will be the Financial Services Consumer Panel, represented by former Which? Money helpline head Teresa Fritz.

The committee is currently taking written evidence ahead of the sessions, with submissions closing on 28 August.

Collectively with the two oral sessions, the evidence submitted will form the basis of a final report from the committee expected by the end of October.

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “This Government is committed to reducing regulatory burdens and supporting compliant business growth through the development of an open and constructive relationship between regulators and those they regulate. The Regulators’ Code provides a flexible, principles based framework for regulatory delivery that supports and enables regulators to design their service and enforcement policies.”

    “Regulators should avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens through their regulatory activities and should assess whether similar social, environmental and economic outcomes could be achieved by less burdensome means. Regulators should choose proportionate approaches to those they regulate, based on relevant factors including, for example, business size and capacity.”

    It’s all there. The trouble is that the FCA completely ignores the Code and pursues its own agenda as if it simply doesn’t exist or at least in any way apply to it [the FCA]. Unless and until the government tackles this head on ~ which, perhaps, it finally intends to do ~ it’s hard to see how anything is likely to change. Messrs Woolard and Geale will doubtless defend the FCA’s stance under its tattered old flag of Consumer Protection, which it uses to justify pretty well everything and anything that it does. The government needs to challenge this in no uncertain terms and force the FCA to comply with the Code.

  2. Positive news for advisers, however, we must be mindful that a wounded tiger backed into a corner is a dangerous animal unless you can cage it.

  3. As we’ve seen in the past all the FCA will do is try and justify how everything is working to the expected levels and nothing very much will come out of it. Consumers are better off, those nasty financial advisers have been put in their place, commission is / has / going-gone the way of the dinosaur, and everything in the the garden of transparency is rosy. Everything is tickety boo in other words, no cause for concern your honour.

  4. With the usual faces saying the same as before I imagine the outcome will be, er . . . the usual.

    Are any advisers going to be invited. In other words, will the people who actually know the problem and the solution be asked to appear.

    Rhetorical, of course.

    • No, just keep sending in the data, no human-facing interaction is required here thank you very much; people have opinions and stuff and advisers are even more noisy!

  5. Ah, the naiveté and faith that continues to be displayed by our industry journalists and commentators regarding those that legislate.

    We have ‘hokey-kokey’ policy when it comes to financial services. Policy is in – out and shake it all about.

    What’s the betting that this latest review – after all the traumas, effort, cost and time taken with RDR – is going to be a reversal of the basic premise and that banks will be shown an open door in order to provide affordable ‘advice’ . That in a few years’ time they will yet again be brought to book for flogging second rate stuff that no one really wanted in the first place is yet again a history lesson that hasn’t been learnt. “Those who ignore history and condemned to relive it”.

  6. Prediction – TSC “Do you feel the current regime is working well for all concerned?”
    FCA “We need to ensure consumers get a fair deal and have confidence those giving advice. This is not a cheap solution but it must be paid for. We are mindful of costs and we have a zero end game. We only charge what we have to, to ensure we are effective in what we do. We do not set and have no direct control over FSCS budget and levies. They only levy what they have to, to ensure consumers are not being ripped off with no recourse. This too has to be paid for. We and they are mindful there is a perception that they are not funded effectively but when we have looked at other options of funding we decided the current method of funding is the most cost effective way available.
    TSC “What can you do to reduce the regulatory burden on the FS world?
    FCA “Nothing, the status quo is the best way forward”
    TSC “Are you sure you have looked at all possibilities?”
    FCA “Yes”
    TSC “Thank you, that has been most helpful”
    FCA “Pleasure and good day”.

    The role of the FCA is to do everything it can to ensure its budget is maintained and inquired along with it’s power. They are accountable to nobody and have total disregard for the elected MPs and their committees. It is disgraceful

    I do hope that MM post a link to parliament TV the day of the session as I for one will watch with bated breath to see how the FCA (and Treasury) come away having spoke for ages but actually said nothing.

  7. @ Harry K – Correct. Repeating the mistakes of the past and expecting a different outcome is simply madness.

  8. The FCA will say their fees are low and the FSCS levy is a separate issue

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