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Govt agrees to FCA duty to provide access to financial services

Baroness Hayter
Baroness Hayter in the House of Lords

The Financial Conduct Authority will have a duty to ensure consumers have access to financial services under a Government amendment to the Financial Services bill.

At the report stage of the bill in the House of Lords yesterday, the Government bowed to pressure from Labour to take account of the availability of services.

At committee stage, an amendment to create an FCA duty over access to services in deprived areas was backed by Liberal Democrats, Labour, Conservatives and the Bishop of Durham Justin Welby.

Labour peer Baroness Dianne Hayter, who leads the party on consumer issues in the bill, said: “The Government has moved on access and its amendment helps the ease with which people can access financial products. It is really important, we do not want to blow our own trumpet but it is quite a big tick we have on that.”

The Financial Services Consumer Panel also lobbied for the requirement, saying it was necessary to balance the FCA’s new competition powers.

FSCP chair Adam Phillips says: “We were concerned that without this concession people could suffer real harm.

“You only have to look at the withdrawal of banking services in rural areas or geographic restrictions on insurance to see the importance of the new FCA ensuring widespread access to financial services.”


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So stop the ban on commission methods of adviser remuneration and replace the current system with a limited commission menu for all investment and protection product types so that every provider will no longer be able to incentivise a sales proces and will have to rely on the suitability and costs of their offerings to be able to meet clients needs.

    Taking away the choice of payment methods is downright ludicrous. If there has been abuse of the system, it is not the advisers who seem to be to blame, but the providers who desperately want to get their products to market via intermediaries.

    The RDR is going to fail on that point alone and guaranteeing access to financial advice is a laudible concept, but the practicalities of delivering this advice economically to the end user seems to have eluded the mandarins at the FSA who have little or no understanding of the middle to lower income groups.

    Change it now, it doesn’t need to be reversed, it just needs to be delayed by 6-12 months and a better method of fees or commission choices with limits on the commission element would be more consumer friendly than this propsed cliff edge ban.

  2. Agree with Ned

    The trouble is, all they will do is let the train crash happen, Sants and his henchmen have all but left anyway, they will just say we left it all in good shape and we did a great job, The FCA will blame the FSA as it was not thier baby, the government will blame the FSA saying thats why we made steps to disband them, and set up PRA & FCA

    The whole lot of them couldn’t give a sh1t about the client/consumers, its been one big gravy train which has cost us dear not only in pounds shillings and pence but jobs,

  3. Comedy at its finest..”…we do not want to blow our own trumpet but it is quite a big tick we have on that.” Well done, bravo, now any suggestions as to how access thing can happen under RDR?…No, I thought not..what a joke…just noise isn’t it!!

  4. Ned, you clearly have too much common sense and real knowledge of advising consumers for anyone involved in the decision gravy train to take your suggestions seriously.
    It wouldn’t cost enough either.

  5. I am really angry with the regulators and the Government.

    You have failed to listen to the experts.

    MP’s appear to have their own agenda, if not lining their pockets with tax payers money or swanning off to be part of ‘I wannabe a celeb’ or whatever it’s called, what an epic egg on face for Britain.

    I used to be proud of all aspects of my hard working ethics, now I am just proud that despite it all I still want to continue to do the best for my clients, yes despite of the nonsense rules, hoop jumping and all the characters that have come and gone over the years.

  6. Come on Ned, you don’t really expect an outbreak of common sense from these idiots do you?

  7. Fine words and a legislative responsibility created but as several have commented,exactly how will the FCA actually discharge this duty? Perhaps a note on their website: “Click here to get a list of advisers in your locality”. As far as I can see they wouldn’t need much more than this.

    What is needed is an explicit and comprehensive responsibility with strong sanctions for non compliance.

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