For the last 18 months, we have been concentrating on what is wrong with the current regulatory system. Now, we are asking the following question; what happens next if the FCA fails?
Next year will be the 30th anniversary of financial services regulation. In that time, the sector’s representatives have been bombarded by a myriad of consultative documents demanding responses to increasingly theoretical ideas.
This one-way process has failed to deliver. We now have a multi-billion-pound regulatory industry that has not only failed to protect consumers from bad advice but has also increasingly denied them access to good advice.
Let’s turn the last three decades on its head and impose a moratorium on the FCA and its cohorts issuing any policy and consultative documents in 2017.
Instead, why not let all the other representative bodies issue documents to the FCA and the Treasury for their response? Not only might this inject some much-needed modesty into Canary Wharf but it should concentrate thoughts on practical solutions to real issues.
Top of the Libertatem agenda is for advisers to become a proper profession. We must separate the regulation of professional advisers from that of other financial companies to deliver proper standards, a practical dispute mechanism and an attractive career ladder. The upside is huge. But can advisers rise to the challenge?
All professionals concentrate on what unites them and work to increase their influence and privileges. All too often, advisers concentrate on what divides them and do not work for the common good. If we are ever going to do more than talk about being a profession, surely now is the time to do it.
Garry Heath is director general at Libertatem