Sixteen fee-only IFA firms are lobbying the FSA for the creation of an independent, fee-only adviser category.
The FSA’s consultation paper on integrated regul-atory reporting has proposed changes to provide better data about market segmentation by requiring advisers to state whether they are independent, whole of market, multi-tied or tied.
But the group, which includes Helm Godfrey, Evolve Financial Planning and Tower Hill Associates, is calling for a further distinction between advisers who charge on a fee-only basis and those remunerated by commission or a combination of commission and fees.
In a letter to the FSA, the group says there is a sizeable and increasing number of consumers seeking independent fee-only advice who are not all high-net-worth individuals.
The letter states: “There is no means for consumers to find the genuine fee for service independent financial adviser, which could lead to consumer detriment.”
Tower Hill Associates director John Lang says it is not a matter of fees being better than commission but ensuring consumers have access to reliable information.
He says: “If an increasing and meaningful number of consumers are seeking a fee-only adviser, then the FSA has a responsibility to protect those consumers by creating a verifiable independent fee-only category and publishing this information.”