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FSA considers QCF level four waiver for disabled or ill IFAs

The FSA has clarified that severely ill or disabled IFAs who want to continue to give advice after the retail distribution review may not have to pass QCF level four by the end of 2012.

This follows a complaint by Lighthouse Financial Advice financial planning consultant Cliff Linsdell, who was told by the FSA he had to take the RDR qualification or the alternative assessment route despite being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Linsdell, an IFA for 40 years, was advised by his oncologist that exams are stressful and could cause his health to deteriorate.

He wants to continue advising and wrote to the FSA a year ago for special dispensation. He was told to contact the FSA again in 12 months, which he did in February, backed by his network’s compliance director.

He received a reply on March 10 from the FSA customer contact centre telling him he had to pass the qualification and listing exam providers.

But an FSA spokeswoman has told Money Marketing it is possible for advisers in similar circumstances to apply for a waiver. She says: “If an adviser believes one of our rules would be unduly burdensome or would not achieve the rule’s purpose, and anyone whose interests are protected by the rule would not be put at undue risk, they can ask the FSA to have it waived.

“The FSA makes decisions about waiver applications on an individual basis.”


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There are 30 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Yet more disgraceful conduct by the jobsworths at Budgerigar Terrace!

  2. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 24th March 2011 at 12:41 pm

    How about alzheimers setting in for the over 40’s, does that qualify?

  3. I was caught up in the Clarkson Hill demise, i have a disability and i applied for registration of another network 3 months ago and still i am not authorised, so take from that what you will my friends..the FSA? don’t make me laugh !! please, it hurts.. or it would if i could earn some money but the FSA won’t even tell me at what stage my application is at…

  4. I cannot believe what I have just read. I think it is “unduly burdensome” to have to sit a load of silly exams – I may apply for a waiver to the utter lunatics at Canary Wharf – who do not have to sit exams to continue doing their job post 010113.

  5. “Doing their job?” You mean killing off financial services? It would be good if they actually DID their job.

  6. In these days of pc lunacy isn’t this discriminating against the able bodied who are aslo busy, experienced and just as able to do the job with out qualifications. I am currently studying for JO2 which is the biggest load of nonesense I have ever read. 90% of it I have never used or likely to use in the next 16-years! Lets be honest once the exams are passed and done with you forget the content anyway! What is the point of all this – sorry I forgot it keeps the Muppets in London in a job!

  7. to: Anonymous
    Entirely agree with your comments on J02. Having worked in depth with trusts and fellow professionals for years in this very area, most of the syllabus is completely irrelevant.

    It also does not even discuss many real world issues with trusts.

    Typical CII nonsense written not to test knowledge, but to catch you out and perhaps garner another resit fee.

  8. I’ve been in financial services for more than 25 years. I’ve never had a complaint and my biggest satisfaction is knowing that my clients are looked after and their investments are rewarding. I have also had the misfortune to incur a life threatening illness and am still recovering. To be flexible with RDR requirements makes perfect sense to me. Though I have to say that little flexibility seems to have been shown by the FSA! Right now I am re-doing my FSA paperwork, my past qualifications, experience and good record apparently amount to nothing. How fair can that be? How about the FSA treating their customers fairly? I’m not asking for a waiver of level 4, just a bit of common sense. Afterall, if I feel put upon how can the FSA reasonbaly expect me to support them?

  9. Harry Haemorrhoid 24th March 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Will severe piles count as a disability. I’m sure half the adviser population will be suffering after sitting all these exams by the end of 2012.

  10. “If an adviser believes one of our rules would be unduly burdensome or would not achieve the rule’s purpose, and anyone whose interests are protected by the rule would not be put at undue risk, they can ask the FSA to have it waived”

    That would probably account for most IFAs who have several years experience, have no complaints history to speak of and who are now serving the children and grandchildren of their original clients.
    “The Rules purpose” will do absolutely nothing for either these advisers or their clients, except cost time and moneyand probably more than a few trees.
    The fsa must have taken legal advice and realised they were on shaky ground with disability legislation.It is not as if they will suddenly have gone all reasonable.
    I wish you well Cliff.

  11. I am recovering from a brain tumour I had removed in October. I have had a lot of support from the practice in which I work (family owned) and my network, Openwork. I hope to be able to pass the necessary examinations but I too struggle to revise as well as working full time.

    My thoughts are with Cliff and I am glad that the FSA are finally taking a sensible approach.

  12. Donate your leg to a good cause and carry on as before?

    Pull the other one.

  13. It isn’t just disability legislation which will cause them problems because it has been merged with other anti discrimination laws, a fascinating subject that their lawyers must have taken into account? Yes?

  14. Entrepreneurial Opportunity? 24th March 2011 at 2:36 pm

    ‘’ could be a good short term (with possibly limited or should that be ‘restricted’ sales) opportunity.

    p.s. best wishes as ever to the genuinely ill

  15. I will take more Exams @ 63 when all the FSA staff are qualified .. Mr Sants I am very unhappy that you have been granted the Honour of a fellowship of the CSI, tells me my level 6 Chartered fellow is worthless when they give them away …. what are your real qualifications????

  16. Thos as god naws fo mi. I nit vary gid at riting so I ope thus wil ellow mi to bi a FIA

  17. I know this is rather harsh, but does this not imply that, should somebody be granted a waiver because of disability, then according to the FSA, the client will receive worse advice simply because they are using an adviser who is or has been disabled and subsequently obtained a waiver.

    This is only applying the FSA’s own logic. If it isn’t an issue for the disabled, it isn’t an issue for those not disabled either.

    If it is an issue for the disabled, then although it isn’t fair on the adviser it also isn’t fair on the clients?

    Also, what about if you have been through a messy divorce, or have been looking after a sick relative, or any one of a number of “no fault” reasons that might preclude the studying for and passing of exams?

    The RDR began as an exercise in hubris and is ending in farce.

  18. My brother in law, who was employed by the council, had an alcoholic on his team and he was not dismissed. Instead every other employee was expected to bend over backwards to help him.
    His employers paid for extensive couselling.
    He is still employed by the council.
    If he has to give up work due to his alcohol dependence he will qualify for disability allowance.

  19. the ability to waive a rule already exists – it is most often used on areas such as consolidated capital adequacy requirements. Alll the FSA has said here is restating their current practice – unfortunately not something to get too carried away about. Good luck Cliff though.

  20. I’m hard of thinking – I’m sure the FSA will understand that one.

  21. In need of help 24th March 2011 at 4:25 pm

    is it not the case that as advisers we are all ill. Which other occupation charges you to go to work then take clawbacks nad investment advice to the grave, we are all in need of a mental health check

  22. Even if you are legless, the fsa will expect you to jump through hoops before applying a waiver.

  23. I have suffered a series of ill health problems, over the years, including having to care for a sick child at one stage. One ailment was the loss of sight in one eye for almost a year, which pretty well wrecked my business.


    PS During that time, I received no help from the network I was then with, which incidently has since gone out of business!!

  24. I am in agreement with some of the previous comments on here.

    If the FSA is happy for a disabled/ill IFA to continue to give advice post RDR without reaching QCF Level 4 as it wont lead to consumer detriment why isn’t this being applied to able bodied IFA’s?

  25. Does severe depression as a result of regulatory persecution count as a disability?

  26. Julian, you display some symptoms of megalomania and paranoia, but not severe depression.

  27. Wrong again Adam Smith.
    If anyone displays the symptoms of megalomania and paranoia it is the regulator.
    Julian is often the voice of reason in all this madness.
    I would not be surprised if most ifa’s felt depressed at the treatment bestowed upon them by the regulator.
    It is a bit like trying to appease an unappeasable god.

  28. @Adam Smith.

    I am now convinced that you are Hector Sants.

  29. It’s not paranoia when they’re really out to get you.

    As for megalomania ~ I’ve never been accused of that.

  30. Steve Underwood 4th April 2011 at 9:25 am

    WOW! So now the boffins at the FSA also have some medical know how as well. Is there any end to their talents?

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