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‘FSA must shoulder some blame for needing RDR’

The retail distribution review totally misses the point, Clarkson Hill chief executive Ron Pritchard told his firm’s national adviser conference last week, pointing out that 10 companies account for half of consumer complaints.

Speaking at the Irish resort of Druids Glen, County Wicklow, Pritchard also jibed at the FSA, saying it should shoulder some of the blame for requiring the RDR in the first place.

He said: “Sir Callum said in Gleneagles he thought the regulator was part of the problem. In that case, can we be expecting a refund? Clarkson Hill Group’s FSA bill was 540,000 this year and 487,000 last year. I will pay for the regulator but I have a concern about accountability and how the money is being spent.”

He pointed out that 10 of the UK’s biggest financial services groups are responsible for half of the total number of complaints. “Surely this should be a bit of a clue to the FSA as to who is really responsible for the problem?” he said.

Pritchard said the best thing about the RDR is that advisers are now looking at the service they provide and putting a value on it.

He said: “Clients do not regularly review the costs with advisers. To think they do is unrealistic and an insult to the very many advisers who provide an excellent service to clients. Advice is not free but very few clients, even high-net-worth clients, would pay fees. Deferment is always preferable.

“For some single-premium investment bond products, fees might be the option but these are often rebated back into the policy anyway. I think in these cases, the issue needs to be addressed with the provider. Certainly, turning the whole structure of advice upside down is not the solution.”

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