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FSA reinforces message to industry on RDR

The FSA reinforced its message at the IFP conference in Manchester last week that the proposals in the retail distribution review are industryled initiatives.

Retail intermediaries sector manager Sharon Campbell repeated the FSA’s mantra that it was members of the industry not the FSA who had constructed the paper. She said: “There is no point in us trying to enforce something because we will be accused of dismantling the industry.”

Campbell said the FSA will be speaking to more than 500 firms over the next month to gather industry opinions and seek feedback.

She stressed that advisers need to understand that the RDR is only a discussion paper at this stage and has not yet progressed to the consultation or policy-making stages.

She said: “We have received 140 responses to the paper and are still looking for more. We want a diverse range of views.”

Campbell also criticised past regulation which she said failed to address core issues.

She said: “Regulation in the past has focused on symptoms rather than getting to the root cause of problems.”

Campbell said the goals that the FSA are trying to achieve of improving the quality and clarity of services is likely to require industry and regulatory change.

Broadway Financial Planning managing director Simon Williamson, who chaired the session, said he believes the term professional financial planner needs to be changed.

He said: “We need to re-phrase the title of professional financial planners so that it automatically becomes a professional mark. You would never say ‘a professional solicitor’ or ‘a professional doctor’ because you just know that they are. That is where we need our title to be.”

Williamson also said he believes there is little point in changing the definition of independent. He said: “There is some consumer understan-ding of what independent means so I don’t think it would be beneficial to change it.”

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