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FSA defends adviser crackdown

The FSA has defended its crackdown on small firms in light of the Northern Rock debacle by publishing an email exchange between the regulator and an adviser on its website.

FSA director of small firms Lesley Titcomb made the move of publishing a series of emails between herself and Temple Bar managing director Simon Mansell as several other advisers had written to her with similar concerns.

Mansell wrote to Titcomb, criticising the FSA’s treating customers fairly crackdown on small firms in the light of Northern Rock’s collapse and Financial Ombudsman Service figures which show the vast majority of complaints are about banks and insurers, not advisers.

Titcomb defended the policy, claiming many small firms are a long way off treating customers fairly.

She said: “It was clear the pace of progress had to increase if small intermediary firms were to meet the December 2008 TCF deadline of being able to demonstrate through the use of their own management information that they consistently treat their customers fairly. This led us to re-examine our approach towards small firms.”

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Mouse trap

A few weeks ago, after one of those industry seminars which you find yourself attending for some mysterious reason and then wonder why you bothered, an IFA asked me what criteria I use to decide what topic to write about this column.

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