Industry bodies have hit out at the FSA’s “profoundly unhelpful” RDR consumer leaflet, saying the information conflicts with industry guidance on independent and restricted advice.
An FSA RDR consumer factsheet, entitled Changes To The Way You Get Financial Advice, states independent advisers will be able to offer advice on all types of products and “restricted advisers will either specialise in specific areas, such as pensions, or offer limited advice on a smaller range of products.”
But in final guidance on independent and restricted advice last month, the FSA said specialist firms can still call themselves independent in certain advice areas such as income drawdown, annuities, and ethical investments.
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales financial services faculty technical manager John Gaskell says: “This is profoundly unhelpful and is merely confusing the issue of independent and restricted advice, particularly in light of current discussions around referrals.”
Sifa managing director Ian Muirhead says: “It is an indication that one department in the FSA is not talking to another department. This is a problem, because the regulator is contradicting itself.”
IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy says: “One of the fundamental points of the RDR was that consumers had much greater clarity about the advice they were getting. Perhaps the FSA should come up with something more constructive?”
An FSA spokeswoman says: “What is fitting for the industry will not be fitting for the consumer. Independent and restricted advice is something which is nuanced, but in communicating the RDR to consumers we need to be quite high level.”