View more on these topics

FSA is told to name and shame advisers

The Information Commissioner has ruled that the FSA must name and shame advisers who performed badly in a mystery-shopping exercise in a move that experts and the regulator warn could unfairly prejudice mystery-shopped firms.

The FSA is appealing against the decision, which jeopardises the regulator’s future use of mystery shopping that it depends on to assess various areas of the market, including its current high-profile treating customers fairly initiative.

The regulator says disclosure could endanger the commercial interests of advisers who are mystery-shopped, on the basis of results that may not be truly reflective of their market practices.

It will publish a discussion paper on the risks and benefits of greater transparency early next year.

The decision is based on a complaint to the IC after the FSA rejected a freedom of information request to disclose information relating to an equity-release mystery-shopping exercise.

The IC ruled that the FSA was right not to disclose the results of all firms mystery-shopped but that it must reveal the identities and findings of seven firms which the FSA investigated on subsequent investment advice as a result of the mystery shopping.

Arguing against the decision, the FSA says disclosure may potentially increase unjustified complaints against these firms and that they would not be receiving equal treatment compared with firms that were not mystery-shopped.

Compliance consultant Adam Samuel says: “The problem is knowing how reliable the mystery-shopping outcomes are. If they are not very good indicators of non-compliance, then the commissioner has probably exercised his discretion wrongly.”

Beachcroft Regulatory Consulting managing director Richard Hobbs says: “We might want to chuckle at the FSA’s discomfort but this decision does not help anyone much. Hobbling parts of the regulatory toolkit will only force the FSA to overuse other parts and make it harder to root out bad practice.”

It is the third time this year that the IC has ruled the FSA was wrong to refuse to disclose parts of an FOI request and it ruled that the FSA has breached the FOI Act on three further occasions this year.


2,500 In logjam for Pru Protection

Pru Protection has a backlog of around 2,500 advisers still waiting to get on to its system since it launched its severity-based product PruProtect in September.Pru Protection, a joint venture of Prudential and South African insurer Discovery, has brought in more staff in its Mumbai office in India to deal with the influx.Chief executive officer […]

Divorcees to share PPF payouts

Pensions minister Mike O’Brien says legislation will be drawn up to allow Pension Protection Fund compensation to be shared in divorce settlements.

An issue of equality

Women tend to lose out financially, compared with men, according to the Fawcett Society.

Paragon to make 62 redundancies at Mortgage Trust

Paragon has announced it will be making 62 redundancies as its moves its centralises Mortgage Trust’s business processing to Paragon’s head office in the West Midlands.But the lender has stressed that there are no plans to close the Mortgage Trust brand and Mortgage Trust’s existing sales force will continue to service its intermediary network.The lender […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm