FSA publishes RDR progress guide for advisers

The FSA has produced a guide for advisers to help them track their progress in meeting the RDR requirements in time for the December 31, 2012 deadline.

The guide, ‘RDR – Is your firm on track?’, was published on the FSA’s website last week.

Advisers are encouraged to consider how they are going to meet the RDR professionalism standards including  reaching QCF level four or completing any gap fill.

The FSA recommends that firms build in enough time to pass the relevant qualifications including time for re-sits.

It also suggests firms ensure they have a robust system in place to identify any advisers who continue to give advice when not appropriately qualified.

The guide also refers to choosing to offer an independent or restricted service, and reminds firms “just because a firm is ‘independent’ now does not mean it will meet the new RDR definition of independent.”

On fees and business models, the FSA recommends that firms should build a charging model that supports the advice service but remains fair to clients, and that firms should consider the systems necessary to collect charges, be able to explain new charges to clients and what the charges are paying for.

The regulator recommends advisers seek help from local business groups or accountants and solicitors if they need help developing their fee-based model.

It also suggests firms wanting to offer independent advice should “talk to their professional indemnity insurer at an early stage to ensure cover will be available for all retail investment products.”

The FSA says: “This guide is designed to help you implement the requirements of our RDR in your firm. It asks some key questions that you can use to check progress, identify any gaps, and prioritise and plan your next steps.

“For some of you, implementing the RDR may mean a fundamental change in business model, while for others, the change may be less pronounced. But almost all firms will have at least some adjustments to make to comply with the new RDR rules.

“Whatever your circumstances, this guide should help you in your journey towards full implementation.”