I recognise we ask you to report a lot of information and I also recognise that sometimes it can be a burden but this data is important.
In 2011, we undertook a public consultation on our proposals to collect adviser charging data from investment advice firms. Respondents to this consultation were broadly supportive of the need for the FCA to collect this data and accepted the idea this should be collected as part of the retail mediation activities return or RMAR. The final rules were published in 2011.
However, over the past few months, as investment advice firms have submitted their data for the first time, particularly RMAR section K, we have seen a number of technical queries coming back to us. We have also seen this reflected in the media, with unhappy advisers quoted in the pages of Money Marketing.
We have heard your criticisms and we have had another look at what we are asking you to do.
As an immediate fix, we are providing technical guidance on how you can report through RMAR section K. This should, we hope, help clear any fog that remains. In drafting the note we have spoken with a number of trade associations to make sure it answers your questions, and the feedback has been good, so we hope this will be a great help. You can find the note on our website.
We have also heard those who report their accounts to HM Revenue & Customs on a cash basis say that calculating a return on an accruals basis creates additional expense. This is an area we are looking at very closely with a view to allowing these firms to report on a cash basis. We need to look into this further, and it is early days, but I hope we can say more after Christmas.
We are also planning to consult on formally incorporating the contents of the technical note into our handbook, meaning that all information you need to complete the form will be in one place.
I am afraid I cannot promise we will get rid of reporting altogether. But what I can promise is we will continue to listen to your concerns. With the benefit of hindsight, we recognise that we had not given enough support on this and we have acted quickly to correct it. Hopefully, you will see that, in doing this, we are different to the FSA and we are more flexible. We have your interests closer at heart.
In return, I ask you to keep talking to us and I would also ask that, when we consult again in future, you give us as much feedback as possible. Feedback last time led us to believe we were heading in the right direction but it now looks like it was not representative of the wider population. My hope is that, together with the industry, this time we get a solution that works for all of us.
David Geale is head of savings, investments and distribution at the FCA