FSA warned of post-RDR ‘ghost’ advisers

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Advisers are warning the FSA there is evidence that people who have not met RDR requirements are continuing to operate as “ghost” advisers.

One adviser, who wants to remain anonymous, says he has spoken to two business owners who are continuing to operate despite not meeting RDR qualification requirements.

He says: “The first person has failed an exam a number of times and has told the regulator he is not qualified but he continues to give advice on non-regulated products in breach of FSA rules.

“In the second case, the business owners are not qualified and have employed an office junior to sign off the advice in order to get around RDR rules. The reality is it is the unqualified individual who is giving the advice and I suspect this sort of arrangement is rife across the industry.”

The FSA says it is launching a thematic review in the coming weeks to weed out “distortions” in the marketplace. The review will include an investigation into advisers who continue to trade despite failing to meet minimum RDR standards.

A spokeswoman says: “One of the key aims of the RDR is to improve trust in the industry. If advisers have evidence that people are behaving in a way which could undermine that trust then that affects everyone in the industry.

“We strongly encourage advisers to come forward, even if it is anonymously, to tell us about things like this.”

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “This is a major concern for the advice industry. The FSA needs to make an example of anyone who is purposefully flouting the rules because it damages the entire industry.

“Anyone who continues to offer advice when they know full well they should not needs to go to jail.”