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FSA may waive fines as Gabriel hit by glitches

SimplyBiz is calling on the FSA to give leeway to advisers who fail to meet its reporting deadline due to problems with new filing system Gabriel.

Chairman Ken Davy says members have experienced significant problems with Gabriel, including inaccurate data on firms, late issuing of passwords and limited accessibility to the site.

Davy says the system is only available from Monday to Thursday from 8am to 5pm, raising concerns among advisers that congestion could cause system failure.

This has been compounded by many advisers not receiving their passwords until this week despite the reporting deadline looming on October 20.

Davy says the FSA needs to recognise that if a deadline is not achieved because of system problems, it does not constitute a breach by firms.

He says: “The breach would not have happened had the technology worked. I have some sympathy for the FSA because technology is renowned for teething problems but I expect it to apply dispensation to ensure that no firm is disadvantaged due to the new system.”

Aifa director general Chris Cummings warns advisers that there is a high possibility they will face problems when filing. He says: “Do not leave it to the last minute to file because you know how unreliable FSA systems can be. Any new IT system comes with a heap of problems that need to be fixed.”

Michael Philips IFA Michael Both says the problems indicate a “significant planning failure” on behalf of the FSA.

He says: “The limited availability of the website means that I may have to cancel client appointments and therefore lose out on income. Is that treating advisers fairly?”

The FSA says it does not expect that the system will crash with increased usage due to its staged implementation approach.

The regulator adds that it will consider waiving its £250 late filing fee on a case-by-case basis for advisers that miss their deadline due to filing problems.

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