The FSA is going on the road in its first series of regional visits to IFAs which it hopes will make it appear more approachable.
First port of call is Gloucestershire, where six members of the FSA team will answer queries from IFAs. IFAs will be able to book 45-minute surgeries to discuss issues.
The FSA's first venture into the provinces will also include drop-in visits to a dozen or so firms in Gloucestershire. If the trip proves successful,the FSA will be making the initiative a national one.
Gloucestershire IFAs have welcomed the opportunity to meet the FSA on a one-to-one basis, calling it a positive move. Aifa director of policy Fay Goddard is urging IFAs to take advantage of the opportunity to discuss any queries they might have on neutral ground.
The FSA is also looking to set up regional offices in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham in a bid to dispel the notion that it is concentrated on the South-east.
FSA spokesman Rob McIvor says: “We are looking at lots of different ways of making the FSA easier to work with. This is about us being available and demonstrating to IFAs that we are easy to do business with.”
Gloucestershire IFA Brook Mill Independent Financial Advisers company director David Radcliffe Watts says: “The FSA is pretty anonymous so this is very welcome. We can find out exactly what they are expecting from us.”
Goddard says: “This sounds good – it is not at all intrusive and proves that the FSA will listen to small firms. As it is on neutral territory, IFAs will not feel threatened by it. They should definitely take advantage of this.”