The FCA has added a function to its register where consumers can search for the closest financial adviser to them.
The new function allows people to search for an adviser by entering a postcode.
Unauthorised firms are flagged in red with an accompanying note saying: “We strongly suggest you avoid dealing with this firm”.
Details of unauthorised and authorised firms posted include direct email and telephone contact details, as well as firm reference numbers and addresses.
Details of appointed representatives and introducers are also listed and users are able to see details on any parent companies of firms.
The FCA defines introducers in a statement below all listed introducer firms.
It says: “This is a firm that can introduce customers to another firm or members of the firms group, and/or give out certain kinds of marketing material.”
Commenting on the introduction of the register search function, Yardstick Agency founder Phil Bray says: “This is a welcome change to the register, which hopefully will be supported by a publicity campaign to increase consumer awareness. If it can help to match consumers with the right advice firm that has to be a good thing.”
In July, the regulator published a consultation paper including proposals for advisers to be included in a new directory aimed at helping consumers and other firms check the status and history of people working in financial services.
FCA retail and authorisations supervision executive director Jonathan Davidson had said its launch would “make sure customers can interact confidently with financial services professionals by setting clear standards.”
Adviser review site VouchedFor had criticised that proposal, saying many advisers “from brilliant to inconsistent to completely rogue” were listed as approved.
Chief executive Adam Price said advisers responsible for the British Steel Pension Shceme saga had been included in this.
Moving forward, Bray says the FCA will need to ensure the register remains up to date with correct website links and contact details.
The regulator won a 10-year long dispute over the upkeep of the register in August, after the Complaints Commissioner ruled it was no longer productive to continue using its resources for the investigation.
Money Marketing has approached the FCA for comment.