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Labour peer: Treasury must set minimum qualification standards for guidance

A Labour peer says the Treasury must set minimum qualifications requirements for those delivering the guidance guarantee after the regulator said it expects individual guidance providers to come up with their own standards.

In July, Lord Kennedy of Southwark wrote to FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley to ask what level of qualification guides would be required to have.

In Wheatley’s response he says the regulator expects those delivering the guidance to look at the matter themselves.

Kennedy says: “The Treasury has to set some minimum standards here, especially when other areas of the advice industry have such strict standards. The bad end of the industry will be thinking there is a potential cash cow here and if the guides are not properly qualified we are leaving people vulnerable. If they get the wrong guidance it could be disastrous.

“The FCA doesn’t seem to be taking it seriously enough. They are basically saying hose giving the guidance can work out their own systems and it will all be fine. It isn’t good enough.”

The document which set out the regulator’s plans for how the guidance sessions will work does not mention qualifications but it does propose principles based standards, one of which is “professional standards”.

Wheatley’s letter says the Treasury can set out the detail beneath these standards as it puts the new service together.

It says: “The standard is principles based with the intention of allowing flexibility in how competency is achieved and evidenced. The requirements for someone involved in design of the web elements of the guidance will be different from those required of someone delivering the guidance via the telephone or face-to-face, for example.

“We expect that the delivery partners will want to explore what training and/or professional qualifications their staff should have.”

Last week, The Pensions Advisory Service chief executive Michelle Cracknell said she expects those giving the guidance to have to meet certain minimum standards



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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “look at the matter themselves” ~ WTF’s that supposed to mean? The bodies concerned who employ large numbers of people with no relevant qualifications whatsoever, such as the MAS, will simply “look at the matter” and do nothing. Were they to impose a relevant qualification requirement, all those subject to it wouldn’t be allowed to provide any guidance until they’ve qualified, thus leaving the MAS (and maybe a few other bodies) even less able to deliver it than they are now.

    Then again, such a requirement may prove yet again that the whole idea of guidance from any source other than qualified and regulated intermediaries was ill-thought through and it’ll have to be quietly flushed away to its rightful resting place.

  2. These people are not qualified to give advice and they certainly will not be qualified by next April and probably never.
    The whole issue is based on an air brained plan to raise tax revenue without a thought of actually how to provide proper advice.
    Shame on all of those responsible, a total lack of credibility.

  3. So we have to pay for this guidance, we will have to pay for the complaint redress (no doubt); I would expect we will have to pay for the examination material and processes (if they do indeed need some basic qualifications) as the morons who are about to deliver this guidance is funded by us.

    It never ceases to amaze me those who deliver advice (us) have to bare all the cost and are put under intolerable pressure to get things right, and it seems to me those who can do the most damage via guidance, simplification and non advice can self regulate and collect their wages at the end of every month with no worries that the FCA may take a large chunk of it.

    And I bet this guidance will be littered with disclaimers like MAS is at the moment when we are not allowed to have any

    Madness pure madness !!!

  4. Bad regulators, bad regulations. A lack of joined-up thinking, lots of career civil servants making things up on the hoof, and an army of apologists led by PR specialists clearing up the resultant mess by laying the blame at the door of regulated advisers regardless of who caused the problem. What a calamity for regulated advisers, and what a shame for clients forced to pay our higher charges to cover a) the cost of complying with often nonsensical rules and regulations and b) the fact that we have to pay for and therefore pass on the cost of unregulated advisers’ mistakes/incompetencies/badness. The law of unintended consequences prospers in our industry.

  5. DO we even know what form of ‘advice’ is going to be delivered? I thought is was only going to be ‘guidance’?

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