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FSA attacked over its ‘monstrous creation’

Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin says the FSA has created a Frankenstein’s monster with its proposed sales advice category.

At the annual Sesame symposium in London, Martin said the new label will cause confusion, meaning that the retail distribution review proposals are unlikely to achieve the original aim of improving consumer access to advice and rebuilding confidence in the industry.

He said: “Sales advice-only someone with little or no experience of the real world could dream up such a term. On the one hand, IFAs will be adopting higher standards and decisively moving to a role in which they act in the interests of clients. Banks, on the other hand, will decisively stay exactly where they are today, cloaking their commercial greed with the respectability of the term ‘advice’.”

Martin criticised proposals for an independent professional standards board, saying it would double up on regulation and costs for advisers.

He called on the FSA to back research by the Centre for Financial Inclusion into whether advice process regulations, such as producing key facts illustrations and other documents, serve as a barrier to consumers accessing advice.
Martin is unhappy about the proposed timeframe imposed on experienced advisers to reach the benchmark qualifications and the FSA’s rejection of a 15-year long-stop.
He said: “The only way an adviser can be free of liability is to die and this is quite simply unfair.

“I am tempted to conclude this Frankenstein creation is nothing other than a sop to bankers who, having killed the goose that laid the golden egg, are desperate to ensure that they can continue to peddle expensive investment products wearing a mask of respectability that comes from calling themselves advisers.”

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