FSA simplified advice guidance delayed

The FSA has delayed its simplified advice guidance and will only now commit to publishing it later this year.

In March, FSA chief executive Hector Sants told the Treasury select committee the regulator was committed to publishing a paper on simplified advice by the summer. He was responding to concerns from MPs that adviser firms and providers did not have enough guidance on the regulator’s view of simplified advice services ahead of the retail distribution review deadlines.

Sants told the committee: “We are committed to publishing a further paper in summer, or earlier if we can, in which we hope to give firms the certainty they need in respect of the regulatory questions to enable them to deliver the service.”

An FSA spokeswoman now says the guidance will be published “later this year”.

The FSA has previously stated there was no need to delay the RDR if its simplified advice regime was not implemented until after January 1, 2013.

The British Bankers’ Association and the Association of British insurers have both been heavily lobbying the FSA to introduce a simplified advice regime. Last year, the FSA indicated that advisers operating in a simplified advice environment would not need to obtain QCF level four qualifications.

Earlier this month, the FSA delayed its decision on whether to ban cash rebates paid by platforms to clients and payments between providers and platforms and is expected to publish a guidance consultation on legacy commission later this year.

Barretts Financial Solutions senior partner Kim Barrett says: “This is extremely frustrating. The FSA is dragging advisers through radical changes and yet it is the regulator that is not ready for them.”

Concept Financial Planning managing director Paul Richardson says: “Clarity on simplified advice should have been published already. The FSA has not recognised how important this issue is.”