The FCA has proposed further changes to the retail mediation activities return, including moving to an annual reporting structure for section K, after trade bodies branded changes made in November inadequate.
In a consultation published today, the regulator is proposing moving to an annual rather than six-monthly reporting structure for section K and allowing firms to complete section K on either a cash or accruals accounting basis. The rest of the RMAR would still need to be reported every six months.
The FCA is proposing removing section L, which relates to consultancy charging. It says these changes to sections K and L will halve the annual reporting cost to advisers from £2.6m to £1.3m.
It is also proposing bringing its annual questionnaire completed by authorised professional firms into GABRIEL, its online reporting system, and reducing the number of questions by 75 per cent.
Since 30 June, advisers have had to complete new sections K and L when completing RMAR returns, which requires firms to send the FCA additional information on initial and ongoing advice charges, whether advice is independent or restricted, and how advice is paid for.
Money Marketing revealed in September adviser trade and professional bodies were pushing for an urgent review of the RMAR after firms raised repeated concerns over the amount of work involved.
In November the FCA issued a technical note on section K of the RMAR and admitted it had failed to provide firms with enough support on completing the returns.
But trade bodies said while the additional guidance was welcome, a full review and more significant changes – including a move to an annual reporting structure – were still needed.
In the consultation paper, the FCA says it published the technical note in order to provide “immediate” clarification on how firms should complete section K, but it recognises that “broader concerns” remain around the data it is seeking to collect.
It says the proposed changes will make the data obligations on firms “proportionate”.