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FSA workshops for small firms follow TCF format

The FSA is running a programme of workshops and follow-up visits as part of its supervision of small firms.

The regulator’s small firms regional assessment programme will follow a similar format to its treating customers fairly initiative which included roadshows, assessments and follow-up visits. The regional assessment programme will feature voluntary half-day workshops starting in the North-west in November.

The workshops will focus on issues such as firms’ systems and controls, including how risks to the business and clients are identified, adequate business controls and how good business practices tie in with good regulatory practice.

They will also focus on firms’ progress on implementing the RDR. Supervisors will give feedback on advisers’ business models and check if they have met the necessary requirements.

The workshops will be followed by reviews, which are likely to start in February. They will pick up on any issues that emerge at the workshops and will either be one-to-one surgery sessions or phone interviews.

The programme follows a pilot scheme which was run with 55 firms earlier this year.

A spokeswoman says: “One aspect that was successful with the TCF roadshows was the fact that small firms got face-to-face contact with the FSA. That is why we are taking forward that same model.”

Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton says: “The problem is that the diligent advisers will attend and those that think the RDR will not happen will not bother. The FSA needs to visit those firms that do not attend these events.”

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