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Fight every inch on CP121 detail

In the immortal words of Corporal Jones, the message to IFAs at the moment should be “Don&#39t panic.” CP121 could have been much worse.

The good news is that it does at least leave the fate of IFAs and their businesses in their own hands. There is a way for IFAs who want to retain the title independent to do so admittedly with some pain involved and in a manner that makes the FSA appear unnecessarily vindictive. For those who wish to become authorised, they may remain relatively unfettered although the divide between what constitutes authorised and what constitutes multi-tied remains obscure.

Ironically, our main objection as a business newspaper is not the direct impact on intermediary businesses but the impact on consumers of a lack of clarity which could be a licence for a return of the sharks. This in turn could hurt everyone.

The question now is what can be done in terms of either changing or resisting the paper. We suggest the formula should be to continue to oppose in principle in terms of “Were we in charge, we would not proceed with this reform” but to concentrate on the detail in any discuss-ions with the Government and the FSA.

For the bigger picture, we suggest the Treasury select committee, which in the past has proved a robust interrogator of the FSA, may do much of the job. The subjective interpretation of the evidence contained in CP121 may be exposed.

MM will oppose on principle and in practice. Given the choice, we would have the FSA go back to the drawing board. But we will help advisers looking to restructure their businesses, whatever route you chose.

We may be freer than, say, any trade organisation to make our opinions known and promise to do so accordingly.


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