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FCA could scrap and replace adviser register

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Industry talks are being held between professional bodies and the FCA about scrapping the FCA register and replacing it with an alternative, Money Marketing can reveal.

The discussions have been prompted by the senior managers regime, which came into force for banks, building societies and insurers in March 2016.

It aims to ensure executives can be held to account where there are failings. The regime will be extended to all firms, including advisers, in 2018.

Under the initial rollout of the new approvals process, bank advisers have already left the register as firms are responsible for certifying and ensuring their staff are competent.

Early stage talks between the regulator and the advice sector are now being held to work out how the senior managers regime will apply to advisers, and in particular the implications for the FCA register.

There are fears that the wider rollout of the senior managers regime will see the register scrapped altogether.

But Personal Finance Society chief executive Keith Richards says he is discussing a proposal to replace the existing register with combined data from accredited bodies.

Richards says: “The loss of a central register would be an unintended consequence. But on reflection, it’s probably not that easily accessible for members of the public, and tells you nothing other than whether someone is a registered individual. To some degree an alternative is attractive.

“One of the things we have been developing in consultation is the accredited adviser directory. That’s far more meaningful if you want to check the validity of an adviser. It has their qualifications, the renewal date of their statement of professional standing, and which areas the adviser specialises in.”

He adds: “We’re working on a credible alternative which could also see collaboration with the other accredited bodies. Our existing directory already holds over 85 per cent of regulated advisers on it. It already has a generic brand name, so we could expand this to other bodies to allow their members to come on it so becomes a central register.”

The idea is for a new register to be accessed via the existing findanadviser.org or yourmoney.org urls, as a public interest initiative rather than a rival to adviser directories such as Unbiased or VouchedFor.

For the new register to work, professional bodies would have to work closer with the FCA in terms of notifying them of any supervisory action.

Tenet group regulatory director Mike O’Brien says scrapping the register without an alternative would risk consumer detriment.

He says: “Getting rid of the register would mean there would be nowhere for the man on the street to go to establish this is a legitimate business they should be dealing with.

“It would be disproportionate to apply the senior managers regime to very small firms, and it would be dangerous to remove the register which is there to protect a consumer.”

The FCA plans to consult on the extension of the senior managers regime by June. The regulator declined to comment.

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Comments

There are 24 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Yet more B— S— !

  2. I agree with Mike. It would be a backwards step to not have this information publically available, and for free. Not only is it bad for consumers, it opens the door to businesses simply trying to sell this data on privately for profit.

  3. I would suggest no central register will ensure it is be easier for non-regulated “advisers” to ply their trade and investors to be scammed before regulation and the law catch up. Not sure how this therefore satisfies one of the central pillars of regulation.

  4. Why don’y the Life Companies, Prudential and Aviva, for two that I definitely know of, STOP advertising the ‘biased’ Unbiased’ and JUST advertise the FCA and PFS registers

  5. Lets invent work to keep this perpetual gravy train in motion !

  6. So, why do we need a regulator? If they are not going to regulate? Yet another part of their responsibilities being passed off to another third party, so they cannot be held accountable for their failings. The fraudsters will have a field day with this.

  7. The FCA register has been an error-riddled shambles for decades. If they can’t run even something as relatively straightforward as a register of authorised bodies and individuals (surely hardly more difficult than compiling BT’s Yellow Pages?), just what are they competent to do?

  8. The central register is not difficult to access and gives the general public more information than you think. Like MAS and FOS and FCSC the public aware of it’s existence

  9. Julian is not wrong. The Register is supposed to be a tool for the public. But it doesn’t tell you whether the firm is Independent or Restricted. Nor does it tell you of any relevant qualifications.

    The Regulators comeback to these observations – “We are not a commercial body”. What that has to do with it is best known to them.

  10. It will make it easier for rogue advisers to hide from clients. In addition, if they don’t appear on the register then firms recruiting them have a significant deficit in terms of ‘checks’. The FCA keep valuable information on advisers that is simply not visible to firms. It wouldn’t be the first time a firm I have worked for were asked by the FSA/FCA to check the answers on the Form A with a candidate, i.e. they were aware questions had not been answered truthfully. When I asked how the firm could have known they acknowledged they couldn’t, it was information known only to the FSA/FCA.

    It doesn’t take much imagination (which crooks have plenty of) to think up ways of taking advantage of clients where they are less visible. Yes, crooks will be personally responsible under SMR but if they were worried about that they wouldn’t be crooks in the first place…

  11. looks like an initial registration FEE, annual accreditation FEE, member of a professional body FEE for annual accreditation and new qualification exam and Fee just to verify everyone’s knowledge is updated.
    Simples

  12. Neil Liversidge 29th March 2017 at 6:35 pm

    I can’t believe the FCA would be so dumb. No … wait a minute … yes I can.

  13. Self interest again from the PFS. A register administered by the regulator not a Professional body is essential to have credibility. However as previously said this needs to be fit for purpose and should include ALL regulated individuals including Bank advisers. It should also list all advisers that have been struck off, together with an explanation of why they have been struck off. In addition it should list all Non-regulated individuals who have been brought to the attention of the regulator and a prominant stark warning about these individuals.
    If you have a register, then the public should be able to instantly identify whether that individual is regulated and “clean” and what his qualifications and specialisms are. Finally there should be no fee for this register because that what we pay our regulatory fees for.

  14. I have come across. Any consumers who have checked out FCA Register to see if advisors are authorised- I personally think it is important and if it is to be replaced by PFS or any other body it should not be biased to their own members or cost additional fees- you can already only call yourself chartered if your advisors are registered with CII/PFS which many think is unfair already??

  15. One has to pinch oneself when reading this type of article to ensure its not just a bad dream.

    A register, complete with status, qualifications and areas of expertise is such an easy concept. So who is pulling the strings and paying for dinner here?

  16. Where can I pitch to run this service? I have Microsoft Excel and will guarantee to cost less then anyone else.

    All joking aside, I am already appalled that we have to pay private companies for our SPS certificates. The FCA and the FCA alone should issue SPS certificates. The FCA should also run a register where any member of the public can easily check what a firm or adviser is authorised to do or more importantly not do.

    I once tried to use it to find a firm to see if they were authorised and it was like pulling teeth. Granted it is a protection only form and I’m not 100% sure on the rules so I gave up. Maybe someone on here can help? Should a firm that only flogs life insurance (CIC etc) that is possibly authorised through another firm show up on the FCA register? What about it’s directors?

    • On several occasions I have considered purposefully breaching a bodies code of conduct by being rude and offensive, simply so the FCA itself have to then issue my SPS as if they refused to on any matter other than a matter of LAW they would be restricting my right to trade, hold an opinion and be offensive, which is I believe NOT illegal in this country.

  17. The current register is a shambles and requires an AF qualification to interpret!

  18. Chris Connelly 5th April 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I predict a massive outlay in IT contractors over a 2-3 year period to create a tool which is almost identical to that we have in place already! Jobs for the boys!

  19. Having spent some time out of the industry as an advisor and maintained a more back of office standing I recently looked into going back in as an advisor. I have been shocked by the general level
    of of competent advisors operating in the mortgage and investment arena.

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