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FSA aren’t qualified to judge us

Money Marketing of November 13 illustrates the contrast between the regulator and those it regulates – costs rise as the FSA takes case to the High Court.

Why are they spending my money to defend, as Evan Owen from the IFA Defence Union says, the indefensible

Contrast that with the article to the left – hundreds get redress after £1.1m pension fine by FSA. When one reads into the case against AWD Group, we find it is largely due to the inability of an administrative confirmation of what had been done in a practical sense. There are no corroborating facts and figures on a file somewhere and no ticks in boxes.

This paradox really has to be settled.

I do not pretend to know the facts and figures behind AWD Chase de Vere. I and many of my colleagues know of cases where IFAs have been driven out of business by the FSA’s ineptitude. Who, at the FSA, is qualified to determine whether custo-mers of AWD Chase de Vere receive good or bad advice?

When the HR department at the FSA is asked how many FCII, ACII, APMI-qualified individuals they have on staff, the answer is – we do not have that information on our records.

Amanda Bowe, who led the RDR team, has no qualifications in the insurance industry and neither does any of her team, or experience, yet it is the FSA who have decided that experience does not count.

The fact that the banks were over-lending was known years ago and was highlighted by many and ignored by the regulator.

The only time they have ever asked me for advice or comment was when they wanted to tick a box and ignore what I had to say. As a chartered financial planner, I find that objectionable.

It is the senior managers at the FSA who should be paying for the High Court action, not practitioners and the industry as a whole. It is they who should be paying for the problems that have occurred in the banking system.

There is a revolution coming on because the FSA cannot keep dipping their hands into our pockets. It is about time that somebody in the regulatory system realised that all of us on the outside are qualified by examination while few on the inside appear to be.

We started a sales-orientated study group 25 years ago and had its 100th meeting on December 9. Two-thirds of the members are chartered financial planners. We take our job seriously and it is about time the regulator did the same.

Terence O’Halloran

Chartered financial planner

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