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Fury at FSA &#39wish&#39 to be IFA

FSA plans to go head to head with IFAs by launching an online service providing specific financial advice have been slammed by the industry as a dangerous step.

The website, which is on an FSA “wishlist”, would see the regulator offering financial advice on a range of products.

It is thought that the service would aim to help people make investment decisions after providing details about income, savings strategy and their portfolio. There is no timetable for its implementation.

The proposal has sparked outrage among IFAs, with many asking who would regulate the regulator if it offers advice. IFA Geoff Kangley, a former practitioner member of the Fimbra council, says the plan would require a change in the legislation as the law does not allow the regulator to provide financial advice.

Another industry source says that any move to provide financial advice would require the FSA to waive its statutory exemption from prosecution in the event of it giving bad advice.

Aifa director general Paul Smee says the FSA would have to justify the use of the industry&#39s money to develop the scheme. He points to the lack of interest in league tables as a sign that consumers do not want advice from the regulator.

FSA spokeswoman Jackie Blyth says: “It is on a possible wishlist. It is one of these wishes that may or may not happen. Any developments would be quite far down the line and it is speculative at this point.”

LIA director of public affairs John Ellis says: “This is an unhealthy development. If the FSA goes down this route too far they are starting to do things that the people they regulate are doing.”

IFA Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose says: “I do not understand how this fits into their role in the industry. Surely their role is to regulate those who provide financial advice. Who is going to regulate the regulator?”

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