West Riding Personal Finance Solutions managing director Neil Liversidge will campaign for a three-year extension to the RDR deadline during his tenure on the Aifa council.
Liversidge was elected to Aifa’s governing council on November 16 at the council’s annual general meeting. His initial tenure will last one year, after which he will have to be re-elected.
Among his priorities on the Aifa council will be to achieve a “commonsense compromise” on the RDR to ens-ure access to financial advice for all consumers rather than just high-networth clients.
Liversidge says: “If the FSA is going to insist that the minimum qualification level for advisers is set at QCF level four, I think it should kick the deadline back to January 1, 2016. That gives advisers five clear years from now to get themselves organised.
“If you look at the struggles the Chartered Insurance Institute is having at facilitating exams, the extra time gives advisers a much more realistic timescale. It will also allow IFAs in their late 50s to bow out gracefully if they want to go without taking exams and it will help advisers get the maximum value for the businesses they are selling.”
Liversidge argues that if the deadline for introducing the RDR requirements was pushed back until 2016, much of the clamour currently surrounding the RDR would fade away.
He adds: “A lot of the people that are supporting the RDR are obviously doing it out of blatant self-interest because they think it will enable them to gobble up other people’s businesses at a bargain price. That cannot be a valid motive for proceeding with the RDR.”
Liversidge is also keen to establish an FSA rule to allow advisers to change firms without needing to be reauthorised.
He believes it is unfair that advisers are forced to reapply for authorisation when other professions such as doctors, airline pilots and solicitors do not have to.
He says: “What we have seen over the last 12 months is that a lot of the guys from Park Row, through no fault of their own, have been unable to carry on working, have been unable to earn a living and have been unable to look after their clients. In what other field of endeavour are professionals subject to this kind of ritual dance?”
Liversidge says if it is the case that people were not fit to be authorised in the first place, the regulator should admit that rather than unnecessarily leave advisers without an income for long periods of time.
He says: “The FSA’s policy on authorisations is pointless and bureaucratic. There should be one question only asked by the FSA – is there any reason why this person’s authorisation should not continue? Yes or no. If the answer is yes, tell us why. It should be mandatory for the firm that the person has left to provide the answer.”
Liversidge also wants to put a stop to the activities of claim management firms which he says try to instigate complaints about financial advice when the client does not feel there is a complaint to make.
He says: “Claim management companies do not have to pay anything to the Financial Ombudsman Service. There is no room for compromise whatsoever on the point that when a claim management company brings a complaint, it should have to pay the full FOS fee up front, with a refund if the claim is proven. Why should these firms be able to use a system that they do not contribute to in any way, shape or form?”