The Money Advice Service is veering into “dangerous” territory by seeking to limit access to its new retirement adviser directory to advisers meeting certain criteria, warns Apfa.
This week the MAS revealed it is looking to launch a retirement adviser directory to help boost referrals from its service to advisers.
A consultation on the plan proposes that advisers listed in the directory must have an “appropriate specialism” in retirement planning, for instance because they conduct a certain level of business in that area.
The MAS also says advisers should hold additional qualifications or have an accreditation to a relevant body such as the Society of Later Life Advisers.
Apfa director general Chris Hannant says: “The MAS appears to be setting standards beyond FCA requirements.
“It is dangerous for the MAS to set itself up to judge which firms are fit to advise on certain areas. That is not its job, it is the FCA’s job, and the MAS should not be going anywhere near that, especially when it expects to raise money from all advisers.
“If the MAS tries to be a regulator, not only will take up of the directory be low, but it will not be able to justify funding from the whole advice sector.”
The consultation says that exact criteria for inclusion on the directory will be agreed by a panel, which would include industry and consumer representatives.
Hannant adds: “We welcome that MAS recognises the fact that criteria need to be set in agreement with industry and consumer representatives, and will work with MAS on getting this right.”
In the consultation, the MAS says: “By prescribing certain criteria for entry to the directory, it is not the intention to add an additional layer of regulation to firms’ or advisers’ activities.
“Rather, that consumers using the directory can be assured that firms and advisers have a particular commitment to this area of financial advice and specialise in it.”