The FCA has been holding crunch talks with providers, distributors and trade bodies to reiterate its hardline stance about acceptable corporate hospitality under the new inducements rules.
The regulator first published a guidance consultation on inducements in September. In January, it published final guidance on “extravagant” corporate hospitality offered to advisers and allowed three months for firms to comply.
The FCA has held meetings over the past few weeks to reinforce the message that it takes a dim view of practices such as hosting advisers in corporate boxes at sporting events.
An FCA spokesman says: “We have been meeting with firms and trade bodies. Conflicts of interest have to be managed properly and hospitality received must be demonstrated to be in the best interests of consumers.”
Aegon still plans to host corporate hospitality events but says these will be for both advisers and customers. A spokeswoman says: “Our existing process is robust and seeks only to enhance the quality of service provided to UK consumers by helping advisers, our customers and other stakeholders better understand Aegon services.
“To reinforce it, we have committed that from now, our ticket allocation will be shared across all stakeholders and our hospitality allocation will be split equally between advisers and customers.”
Royal London expects the FCA to deem gifts of small value proportionate. It will continue to offer hospitality through sport sponsorships but says all events will either have to include training or improve understanding of client needs.
A spokesman says: “We will be working quite closely with the FCA and running events on a case-by-case basis.”
Networks told Money Marketing that all hospitality received by its advisers would have to be centrally recorded.
Threesixty director Phil Young says: “There needs to be a frank discussion about what is okay and not just a token show event to create the impression of training.”