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.