The FCA is planning to charge firms a fee if they want a paper invoice for their regulatory fees.
In a consultation on how it plans to charge fees in the future, the FCA says that while 85 per cent of authorised firms use its online invoicing, printing and distributing paper invoices to 8,000 firms is “expensive and time-consuming” for the regulator.
The FCA says: “These additional costs are carried by the whole body of fee-payers. We believe that firms wishing to preserve this manual service should pay for it, rather than expecting other firms to share the costs.”
The regulator has estimated that, to cover its costs, a charge of between £50 and £100 a year would be necessary.
The move would be effective from 2019/20, and would also allow firms to take advantage of an online card payment facilities and immediate email notification of fees correspondence.
In July, the FCA confirmed the adviser fee block would see levies increase by 4.7 per cent for the 2017/18 year.
On the other hand, it also confirmed plans to return £4.4m from fines to other firms in the block, and reducing the amount advisers would pay towards The Money Advice Service.
The regulator also plans to include more types of firms, including mortgage brokers and lenders, in its scheme that rebates income from fines back to the industry to offset levies, it announced in today’s consultation.
Advisers did contribute half of the levy for Government-backed guidance service Pension Wise levy, but this was reduced to just over 10 per cent in 2015/16.
It decided against calls to reduce the share to as low as 5 per cent from adviser trade bodies, however.
The regulator should consult on its next set of fee amounts around March 2018.