At the tail end of last year, I accepted a number of invitations from the FSA to attend a series of roadshows covering mortgages, investments and treating customers fairly at the Heathrow Hilton. For any normal practitioner, these roadshows would provide not only valued continuing professional development but an insight into the mindset of the regulator.
On the whole, I found that the approach of our regulator was considered and extremely helpful. However, on more than one occasion there were a significant number of attendees whose sole purpose was to disrupt proceedings and hijack the event.
One attendee even questioned the experience and qualifications of the head of the investment department, small firms division, who I know to be a chartered accountant. I find this rich coming from an industry whose practitioners are in the main qualified by no more than that of the lowest common denominator, FPC/CEMQ.
To those backwoodsmen, may I offer the following advice. Open confrontation verging on anti-social behaviour besmirches the reputation of the whole industry. I do believe that the FSA is trying to engage the industry and is willing to listen, so engage constructively.
Ultimately, the FSA is a Government-appointed regulator and, if there are those who still disapprove of this institution and its practices, may I suggest you exercise your democratic right at the ballot box.
Chartered financial practitioner