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Full Parliamentary RDR debate secured

Backbench MPs have secured a full Parliamentary debate on the RDR.

The office of Conservative MP Harriett Baldwin says the back bench committee agreed yesterday to hold the debate in the next few weeks.

Baldwin and Conservative MP Mark Garnier had an application to hold a full RDR debate rejected last month as the subject had recently been debated in a Westminster Hall debate and Treasury select committee meeting.

At the Westminster Hall debate, a number of backbench MPs expressed concerns that the RDR could lead to an advice gap. Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban responded by comparing the current IFA qualification to a diploma in shift management from McDonald’s.

Baldwin says: “I really do hope that we will now get the chance to influence the independent statutory regulator to take the right steps now to mitigate the impact of their regulations on the provision of much-needed financial advice.

“The FSA is keen to raise the standards of financial advice but is doing so in a prescriptive and heavy handed way. I share their goal but I fear that requiring even very experienced advisers with unblemished track records to pass exams may have a negative impact on those of my constituents who are financial advisers and will reduce access to independent financial advice for many people.

“At a time when the FSA is being abolished it seems like an appropriate time to debate this issue. IFAs should now write to or visit their own MPs and ask them to speak in the debate on their behalf.”

Garnier says: “IFAs across the country have been calling for a debate on this for years, yet throughout the whole process of RDR, there has been just 30 minutes of debate on this important subject. IFAs are an incredibly important asset when striving to improve savings and pensions, and it is important that they get their time in Parliament.”


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There are 36 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Good. Let us all remember as we lobby our MPS this is about consumer detriment. Not whether its fair that we have to take some exams. Focus on the impact on the public if they cannot access Independent Advice.

  2. I should like to be in the house to put the question to Mark Hobo, and what qualifications are required to be an MP ? apart from how to fiddle expenses that is.

  3. At last,some common sense. We have all read about MacDonalds qualifications and I would like to know just how many of these Treasury officials and MP’S would qualify to work for MacDonalds.

  4. The FSA has been the only voice on the RDR for too long and this debate may mean that we finally get a consultation where we are listened to.

    Whatever your view on the RDR I urge you to contact your MP’s and express it so that they know that this is an important issue and we can have a full and proper debate.

    Find your MP and email them at

  5. Congratulations to all who have worked hard to acheive all they have so far. The RDR needs to be put under proper scrutiny and questioned and if parts need adjusting then there is still time to to so if it found to be robust and for the benefit of the mass consumer then it will stand.
    If not then for the good of the economy as a whole and the drive to restructure it towards saving, investing and wealth creation rather than one that just constantly borrows more and more just to stand still it need changing to allow for a more tempered and tapered change increasing choice and competition rather than rigging the retail distribution market towards a cosy cartel.

  6. This is an opportunity to prove that democracy can work in reality rather than mere theory.

    Every adviser (except perhaps the two Mr Bamfords) should contact their MP and stress the importance of attending and contributing in the interests of consumer enfranchisement.

  7. Thankyou Harriet for having the strength to push for this debate.
    Maybe some MP’s may start to understand that they MUST NOT give away their parliammentary powers to unelected and overpaid grey people, who are not liable or accountable for their actions.
    I demand my Human rights back and access to the law courts of England and Wales along with the 15 year long stop.

  8. I would not hold your breath!! MPs do not even reply.

  9. This is great news for all free thinking IFAs and not the ‘vested interests’. AIFA the so called representative body should be ashamed of themselves. Those who value democracy, moral and principle regardless of whether pro or anti RDR should be extremely happy.

    Now lets make sure that the MPs argue from a point of understanding the issues including the legality aspects.

    CPD to ensure ongoing up to date knowledge of already authorised advisers not cliff edge exams and certainly not the illegal de-authorisation of already authorised individuals.

    Recognition of the statutes of Limitation and Latent Damages like every other man woman and child have (unlike those authorised by FSA)

    There is absolutely no proof that commission bias exists or is rife in any independent survey carried out – even by FSA themselves.

  10. If this leads to level 4 compulsion being kicked into the long grass it will be the biggest mistake in the history of financial services. It angers me that sales people hiding under the guise of financial advisers and the customers friend. I will accept grandfathering and exam exemptions for 5 years + experienced advisers but not staying with a numpty multi choice set of papers as the base level for new advisers.

    I feel the public became disenfranchised with IFAs a long time ago, becoming fed up with high commissions and heavy sales techniques. I do agree the FSA have over egged the RDR but without some parts we are doomed to stay a sales industry instead of developing into an advisory profession.

  11. How after all this time and £Millions it has come down to a Commons debate on RDR that set out from day 1 to destroy access to advice to the general public by concentrated on exams and commission.
    HNW individuals will always and easily access special treatment from advisers from all channels my career as many of my peer group has been based on providing sound advice for a reasonable renumeration and not discriminating by £family income before we decide if we meet them or not.
    Under freedom of information we must ask for a breakdown of the costs so far of RDR.

  12. Well done everyone, this may just allow the general public on the lower wages to retain the services of IFAs.

    It was interesting to note that even Towry Law decided to float BEFORE the RDR implementation.

    If the MPs look more closely at the actions of the people who are very pro RDR hopefully they may see that the confidence in their words is not followed by their actions when it comes down to their own cash.

    At least everyone will be heard this time.

  13. I had a really nice response email yesterday from Mark Garnier to an email I sent him, Harriet Baldwin & Vince Cable about RDR, the FSA & how the banks are being regulated as compared to IFA firms.

    The Banks are now openly defying the FSA over how they handle PPI mis-selling complaints and what’s happening about it?!!!

    None of us would disagree that financial advice should be put on a more professional footing. We all welcome that we should be set apart from the bank assurance sector.The public need to know that many of us are professionals and actually care about our clients and their finances and try our utmost to do a good job & provide them with excellent service.

    We’re all sick of the double standards being applied & I honestly don’t think many MPs are aware of what’s been going on & how damaging

  14. I am really pleased to learn this piece of news and I hope with a full parliamentary debate it will have a successful outcome. Please ensure that your local MP is fully aware of the facts and attends the debate. Now really is the time for all advisers to voice their opinion assertively.

  15. Great news.
    With the Towry Ltd debacle over transferring clients’ funds now almost a year since clients requested transfers in-specie; this has to be good news because hopefully this can absorb the contentious issue of timescales to transfer clients assets, if it cannot be brought into the next Finance Bill.

  16. With the aid of my colleague Alan Lakey (who supplied the statistical data) I have compiled a list of questions which Harriet and her colleagues may find, ah, useful to put to Hoban. E-mail me if you’d like to see it.

  17. A real morale booster and no doubt a slap in the face for the PFS lady who felt we should not hold our breath etc; to say nothing for those who should know better suggesting it was too late to do anything.

    As for anon who said MPs do not even reply-suggest you beard your MP and point out that such behaviour to a constituent is unacceptable. As a matter of interest, my MP Peter Lilley has been very supportive from the word go as I suspect most MPs have been.

  18. How do I email you Julian.

    I’ll email you what I said to Mark Garnier if you like because he said in his response, should the debate go ahead (which we now know it is) some of my comments would be used. I didn’t hold back regarding the situation of the bank assurance sector I hope they do use them.

    I also copied emails into Rory Stewart my MP for Penrith & the Borders & his secretary was kind enough to reply to say my email had been received by him & the contents considered.

  19. Whilst i welcome the excellent news, i feel a word of warning.
    If Towry Law can ditch low net worth clients and many advisors have clients who have not been contacted due to low value investments, it might be difficult to aurgue that RDR could prevent the smaller investor from receiving independent financial advice? You must not cherry pick clients and then argue against RDR.

    As much as i dislike saying it, the banks do at least provide investments for the less wealthy although the spread and diversity might not be as broad as a IFA might suggest.

    With regards the comments about McDonalds, i fear that Mad Cow disease is prevalent amongst policy makers and regulators.

  20. this a a positive step towards sense and sensability

  21. Wonderfull article on the Adviser Alliance website about the FSA & RDR which can be used as a basis for a letter to your MP.Mine is going off tomorrow.

  22. To: Tony Slimmings | 9 Nov 2010 10:08 am

    Tony you are missing the point. This is an issue about the rule of law which is not an abstract concept of interest only to academic constitutional lawyers. The IFA is not equal before the law because The FSMA 2000 outlaws the IFA by vesting in the FSA God like powers. Following the RDR, the FSA is intending to raise professional standards and to introduce new rules for the qualifications for IFAs. So far so good: no one would complain about the raising of standards and indeed this is already taking place. With 11 years the average aged IFA (54) will be out of this business in any case. But the FSA is saying that it will not permit IFAs who are currently qualified and authorised under Financial Services and Markets Act to continue to practice under the future new rules unless they requalify. To put it in the jargon: there will be no grandfathering. This is not lawful. The FSMA does not permit the FSA to cancel an authorisation simply because the FSA has changed its views on what the appropriate qualifications should be. To give current IFAs time in which to requalify is to mitigate the situation but it does not make lawful that which is unlawful. It is one thing to impose new rules on new entrants to the IFA profession. It is quite another thing to disqualify someone who is currently qualified with all the financial loss that this will involve – quite simply this must not be allowed to take place!

  23. Now its your turn to take action 9th November 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Now the time has come for you all to take on this challenge personally. Many have sat back and allowed AIFA and PFS to claim that they are representing your interests. It is these groups that are history and not the IFA, because we will this. Each and every one of you must now book an appointment at your MPs surgery and tell your story. That is all you need to do. This is the one biggest sale you will ever make in your life so don’t take the cowardly option. A small band of IFA have worked relentlessly on this issues and now we have brought this to the floor of parliament the time is right for you to join the fight and slay this Leviathan before it drags us all under in its own death throws.

  24. I have asked Mark Hoban twice (as a journalist) why the Conservatives have relied on “free” RDR Research from a HIGHLY biased source.
    Anyone else care to try?

  25. There is just a glimmer that democracy may still exist not just for IFAs but for their hard won but loyal clients who are served so well and who would be so disadvantaged yet they have never been consulted. How refreshing – but why has it taken years to reach this stage and how can all the positive IFA points be put accross to Parliament in just 3 hours after 10 (or more) long years? After so many £millions have been so ill used. After such a gross waste of other people’s resources whilst so many large institutions had their tummies tickled and said nothing. At last individual client serving IFA’s have shown that the smallest voices can still be heard above the roar of the self serving and misguided bureaucrats

  26. Hooray, some time allocated to Parliamentary debate:- I do hope some good comes of this although RDR (reasonable discussions rejected) will still have a long way to go and the number of “U turns” this Government has made, I don’t think the FSA will be disbanded and 2012 looms ever closer.
    I have grave concerns that this Industry argues the case that RDR will limit Independent advice to the wealth and then we read that Towry Law are ditching low net worth clients, and IFA’s stating they want sizeable cases and yet have clients who because they have low value portfolio’s, have not been visited for years.
    I am in favour of exams providing they are relevant, but raising the bar will not improve the advice given to clients and if by raising qualifications and advisers can deal with all client advice cases, then surely the need for specialists will diminish and the costs to the client will rise!
    For the FSA to remove authorisation from qualified advisers is in my opinion illegal.
    What is the purpose of CPD if by keeping up to date with changes is not then recognised.
    Holding a piece of paper with exam pass does not improve advice. Look at the number of Graduates in their first job. They can regurgitate data, but can’t apply themselves to a job until they have learned the art of application. If grandfathering is denied then what value is wisdom and experience!

  27. Bianca Bartolomeo 10th November 2010 at 3:34 pm

    For an “experienced adviser”, surely 5 or 6 exams needed to achieve level 4 competency shouldn’t be an issue, should it? I work in the industry and studying towards the exam and the way I see it only lazy or not – knowledgeable advisers have a big issue with the exams! I have seen advisers who went in this industry from being doctors or mechanics and their knowledge hasn’t vastly improved since they started their carreer. So get off your lazy bottoms and read soemthing for a change! I am more outraged about the cost of books and exams!

  28. Dear Bianca, welcome to the world of IFAs that I have worked in since the 1970s. Your arrogance and insults though are not.
    I fully understand that exams and techniques as to how best prepare and write you answers are well inbred and clearly for someone so young when you meet a new client your letters after your name give you the confidence as you will lack experience and the years of knowledge built up by your older colleagues.
    Please believe me when I tell you that my generation of IFAs have kept the Independence alive when so many took easier options and you also realise why this is preferable to that offered by Banks and Tied and restricted firms.
    Today when I write is Armistice Day when so many perished for our sakes. I do not compare myself to my father and so many of his colleagues who perished but please do not underestimate the cost and effort IFAs of many years have made to make independence possible. Less energetic yet but lazy – HOW DARE YOU.
    I have many cMost of my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly 1 industry that I have worked in since 1968 the majority as an IFA. How dare you insult

  29. Tom – Bianca Bartolomeo is not authorised by the FSA she is either lying about her/ his name or is just starting out – but with a very strange attitude – all I can say is I wish I knew as much as she so obviously does.

  30. You are correct Bianca 5 or 6 exams are not the issue.
    “The FSA is keen to raise the standards of financial advice but is doing so in a prescriptive and heavy handed way. I share their goal but I fear that requiring even very experienced advisers with unblemished track records to pass exams may have a negative impact on those of my constituents who are financial advisers and will reduce access to independent financial advice for many people”
    Those are the issues.
    When you have passed your exams and have served your clients faithfully for 30 or 40 years and are about to retire, when the regulator comes along and tells you that you are unfit to practise unless you take some more exams to prove you are able to do that which you have done for most of your working life, come back and blog about how you would in fact do so were it not for the fact that you are such a lazy*@** who cannot be bothered to get off her backside.

  31. Letter sent today to my MP at House of Commons.
    Hope all interested parties will do the same with whatever views you hold we are after all still living in a democracy I think!

  32. Perhaps Bianca works for Hoban? 13th November 2010 at 10:12 am

    Does anyone really think exams “raise the standard” of an IFA that has survived the harshest regulatory system perhaps in the world with all of their lunatic TCF and myriad of hoop jumping clap trap jobsworth creation schemes and retrospective reviews. If you are in business today in spite of this and with less than 2% of FOS complaints then your standards are already high so lets not fall into to this exam pro banking trap. The truth is they want you out and they want your distribution!

  33. @Peter | 12 Nov 2010 10:23 am

    Peter says we are still living in a democracy!

    Are we? The FSA is unelected but has quasi judicial powers above the courts. Even Hoban claim he has no say over them because they are independent. Yet they are about to wipe out 10,000 advisers by asking them to retrospectivly requalify in order to retain business that have been built up over many years. I don’t call that a democracy I call that a dictatorship and I loath all that they stand for.


  34. I simply can’t understand the issue with passing these exams in the space of two years. The MD of of where I work has over 30 years experience in the industry. Was he frustrated by the need to do further exams to prove his worth? Of course. Did he sit back and whinge about it like I see so many others do? Absolutely not. He dispises the FSA and the requirements but he is certainly knowledgeable and an expert in his field to pass these exams and prove himslef. We need this standard of qualification for the industry. Knuckle down and get to it.

  35. Tony Slimmings
    Which part of “the exams are not the issue” do you not understand?
    Do you work in the same office as Bianca?

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