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FSA offers clarity for firms operating hybrid advice models

The FSA says firms offering both restricted and independent services post-RDR should not include “independent” in their trading names or could operate under two or more trading names.

In its independent and restricted advice guidance published today, the regulator says firms that offer both forms of advice will not be able to hold their business out as acting independently for the business as a whole.

The guidance says: “A firm that provides both independent and restricted advice should not hold itself out as acting independently for its business as a whole.”

The FSA says the firm could set up two or more trading names or use a name which does not include the word “independent” in the title to offer clients a choice of independent or restricted advice.

If a directly authorised firm’s ARs offer a mix of independent and restricted advice the FSA says the name of the principal firm should not include the word “independent” in its title.

The guidance also warns advisers who offer a restricted service that they cannot give clients the impression their range of products has been restricted to those that are most suitable for the client.

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