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FSA: 15% of firms have failed to submit qualifications data

FSA Letters 480

The FSA is urging firms to submit details on advisers who have the met the RDR professionalism and qualification standards after around 15 per cent of firms failed to meet last month’s submission deadline.

The regulator wrote to firms in December and again on 9 January requesting professional standards and complaints data for each adviser to be submitted by 29 January. The FSA was forced to reissue the reminder letters after a “systems error” saw 6,000 firms receive letters which quoted incorrect firm names and reference numbers.

Firms are required to provide qualification details for each of their retail investment advisers via an FSA template.

An FSA spokeswoman says: “Quite a number of firms and all of the accredited bodies have provided us with these details. However, a significant minority of firms have yet to provide us with this data.”

She adds this means the data coming in from the accredited bodies is higher than that submitted by firms.

She says: “We would like to encourage firms to provide this data, as by not providing this they are in breach of our rules.

“If advisers have taken the time and spent the money in order to get qualified, then they should want us to know about it.”

Advisers have told Money Marketing they have received emails from the FSA saying they have missed the submission deadline and are in breach of regulatory rules, despite having submitted their professionalism data to the regulator.

The FSA is still in the process of manually checking firms’ submissions against those by accredited bodies, and says it stands by the 15 per cent figure.

A spokeswoman says: “We are aware of some circumstances where firms have submitted their data to us but have still received an alert to say they have not. This is an error for which we apologise, however there is still a significant minority of firms who have not submitted their data to us, and they should do so as soon as possible.”


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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Actually, from conversations with IFA’s, it seems that the FSA have failed to register up to 15% of firms responses.

    Good customer service this. Use flawed systems. Badly. And then blame the client.

    Perhaps if they asked us, we may be able to help correct their records? For a suitable fee, naturally…

  2. And what does our esteemed regulator glean from this fact?

  3. We, the advisory population, will get our data in and correct when you, the regulatory population, get your own house in order and issue properly addressed letters.

  4. As they started out by sending out emails naming the wrong firm I’m inclined to agree with Phil.

    As the FSA likes to tell us – they had 6 years to prepare for RDR so why is the reporting document an Excel file that you email? Very poor.

  5. Our firm never actually received any notifications at all. I then receive an email stating that our business has breached the rules! This was completed on the same day and returned.

    I have to state that the actual method of forwarding the data to the FSA is archaic and flawed a bit like Gabriel reports.

    When will some the huge sums of money that we send to the FSA be used for a user friendly system to allow input of data?

  6. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

    I submitted my return on the 7th January and got an email receipt reply back that same day from the FSA.

    Today I got an email telling me I haven’t submitted it and am in breach! Unreal.

  7. Me thinks a few advisers are too ready to snipe at the FSA. The requirement for this return was well signposted and if firms had their eye on the ball and used a half decent compliance firm or even looked at websites like this they would have known about it. Excuses if you ask me.

    Yes reporting methods are lousy – GABRIEL, RMAR, Close Links, Controllers, Fee Tariff Data. No feedback (unless you screw up!), it is a mess. But there are no excuses.

  8. Mine’s just been returned because I put a date in the last column which I should apparently have left blank. Too difficult for the FSA to delete it themselves …..

  9. Did the FSA ever publish the data on its own staff’s qualifications?

    Especially in the post-RDR environment.

    Just asking.

  10. @sam

    I think the point being made is that firms HAVE in fact submitted, despite the best efforts of the FSA.

    It seems that in many cases, the FSA have then lost, wrongly allocated etc those submissions.

    I agree, no excuse not to submit. But equally, no excuse to lose a submission.

  11. I sent my return too early in December (by scanning and e-mailing the form), then Again TWICE in January. However if it is not correct you usually get an e-mail saying so. But it is absolutely true the spreadsheet has glitches. You only find out how they work (or don’t work) by calling the helpful; FCC. Who are well aware of the failings of this piece of software. Why software anyway – why not (for small firms) simply a requirement for an e-mail with the SPS as an attachment? Or is it only machines that can read at No. 25 Canary Towers?
    Why wait for a certain date to send. I had the details in January 2012 – why must they wait until the last minute? (Probably because they are a disorganised dog’s breakfast)
    What is so bloody disgraceful is the general poor web/software/IT offering from the FSA. Bearing in mind how expensive it is and how much they evidently spend on IT; it really is a wonder who it is they employ to make this mess.
    If there is a straightforward way and an absolutely complicated, un-intuitive, clunky, and ham fisted way of doing things they invariably plump for the latter. The website is a prime example. If any of us had IT that worked in like manner we would be out of business in a fortnight, have the Regulator round our necks and probably be sued by the clients we had left.

  12. Phil – many did not follow the instructions either! The header had to be in a preset format and the instructions were clear. The spreadsheet had glitches but a quick look at a help screen clarified the problem. I suspect that in this male dominated adviser world we men just barged onwards and upwards and did it any old how without looking at the instructions.
    Yes the FSA makes mistakes but I really do believe that advisers groan about the FSA at any opportunity and should look at themselves more often.
    I am no apologist for the FSA and reporting now is rediculous especially if you are directly authorised – controllers, close links, Fee Tariff Data reports all have to be emailed. As for GABRIEL – Sage crashes when I try to run data for that report!

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