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Garry Heath: This is our chance to radically reform regulation


Libertatem is another month older, membership is coming in on target and we are receiving great messages of support. We expected nearly all of our members to be directly authorised but we have attracted a significant number of network members too. Meanwhile, the decision to combine restricted and independent has been vindicated, as many members appear to offer both services.

I have been having a number of exchanges with advisers and journalists who believe change can only come from the regulators. I am tempted to refer to this as Stockholm syndrome: perhaps a bit of an overstatement but you get my drift.

We need to reassert our position as the one part of the industry that is low risk and highly professional. We must start establishing principles rather than relying on sticking plaster solutions.

A reporter suggested last week that “policymakers need to resolve the mass market issue”. Wrong. That is our job. It is the policymaker’s job to facilitate it. That requires an injection of confidence in the sector, which is on its way. The removal of FCA chief Martin Wheatley, a Treasury select committee bent on reform and the Enterprise Bill gives us the opportunity to radically change regulation. We will face determined opposition from the vested interests but if we unite we will win.

If I had a membership form for every adviser who had expressed support, we would already have a very strong trade body ready to take on the challenge. Sadly, too many are still thinking like hostages rather than free men.

Garry Heath is director general at Libertatem



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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Couldn’t agree more Gary, keep up the good work.

  2. And these advisers who won’t put their hands in their pockets will be the first ones moaning when the banks and product providers get back in the game and screw things up again.

  3. Hi Gary, You may remember me from my BIBA days. It’s about time somebody is prepared to say we have too much regulation, too many rule changes, with a Rule Book that very few people understand including the Regulators themselves.
    Good luck with your quest for common-sense to prevail.

  4. I hate to rain on your parade at this early stage Garry and I’m one of your network AR members, but we do need to see a clear and credible action plan before too much longer.

  5. Your a top man Garry – keep up the good work – I’m joining because your a man that gets things done !

  6. I agree- we should be taking this under our control as the advisors and not expecting the Regulator to give us more rules. They see a lot of what goes wrong so would love to hear from them as much as possible about good and bad practices- but more rule-making- no thanks- we have everything we need in the main- so I agree- we do need a trade forum who can help form positive solutions that the FCA can listen to and provide a steer on and also a voice with FOS for the more complex challenges and to understand some of their decisions better (and not always to accept them). I am personally fed up of the whole industry assuming things that are pure myth and not sure how we get ourselves into this state.

  7. I’m afraid that agree with Julian Stevens previous comment.
    We need to clearly define and understand a clear plan to drive this wave forward. Precipitate action will not help the cause although I appreciate that a fire-brand voice is needed as a rallying call.

  8. We have established our principles but now we need to sweep those into a plan to take account of the new review as well as previous announcements.

    This is work for August and September and I want to assemble some allies and take their views before publishing our Autumn Plan. Nothing worse than creating the cure for which there is no disease.

    What is clear is that there is no shortage of potential allies. We need to all work in concert.

    I expect to have a fully fledged plan before Parliament returns in October. However I must make the point that I need members joining now. I need the funds and the influence. Next week we start snail mailing packs to IFAs. In this way I hope to place something on their desks that will challenge the advisers to join us.

  9. Oh and there is another very good reason for joining – It stops me feeling lonely

  10. Please send me details

    Also – Happy to lend resource from various good contacts. Lots to think through to make a good industry run like it should.

  11. Thank you for your response, Garry. It’s more than we ever get from APFA.

  12. I’ll gloss over the poor/lazy metaphor of Stockholm Syndrome by simply pointing out there’s no clinical evidence for its existence.

    But I must take issue with “our position as the one part of the industry that is low risk and highly professional.” If advisers were low risk, we wouldn’t see people like TailorMade mis-selling over £100m of pensions. Not bad going for four guys, only one of which was a CF30. You’re only ever as good as the weakest link, and there’s some pretty weak ones out there…

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