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MM leader: FCA must review the impact and value of RMAR

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The FCA’s new RMAR reporting requirements appear to only be succeeding in creating confusion.

Advisers have been telling us the new forms, which have had to be used for any returns since the end of June, use sloppy terminology, are unclear in what they appear to be asking and are creating a huge amount of extra work for small firms already struggling to keep up with other regulatory demands.

Many have made their feelings clear to the FCA alongside strong representations from the Association of Professional Financial Advisers. 

The regulator has yet to respond apart from stating that it is providing help for small firms struggling with the process. Judging by the response from readers this is far from adequate. 

Much of the concern has focused on the new adviser charging part of the report, section K, and whether certain figures should be expressed in numerical or monetary terms. Advisers have also complained that the forms do not take into account the different types of charging structure they are now applying. 

The situation hasn’t been helped by the fact some back-office systems also appear unclear about what is required and have been unable to support advisers. 

Apfa highlights a late change to the requirements, just two months before they came into force, as contributing to the confusion. The new reports introduced over 100 new fields that must be considered when collecting data.

The adviser trade body is now calling for an urgent FCA review into its RMAR reporting, a move this newspaper fully supports.

Of particular concern is the fact that many of these worries were flagged to the regulator as part of the consultation process but nothing appears to have been done about it.

Again, there appears to be far too little thought from those who regulate the sector about the effect of their polices on those they regulate, particularly small firms, and the knock-on effect the extra time struggling with endless red-tape has on advice charges.

Any review must ask tough questions about how useful all of this information actually is to the regulator as well as addressing the profession’s confusion and knock-on concerns about the reliability of the data. 

If advisers are in the dark over how to properly fill in these reports, or are having to provide guesstimates, then of what possible use can the data be to the regulator?

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. When filling in the ambiguous sections of data, just amalgamate sources of income and enter into whatever seems ok. As long as the final figure adds up what does it matter.
    When the FCA have a reporting process fit for purpose follow it, until then just fudge everything and make sure you look after your clients because clients are what matters.

  2. Callum McCarthy in his famous Gleneagles speech described retail investments as “broke”. I would describe current regulation as “broke”. No longer fit for purpose. The RDR (plus RDR 2) will radically change financial services but there is a need to change regulation. For many the RMAR appears not to be important but it reflects a busted regulatory model.

  3. Data should not be collected unless a) We understand what is being asked of us b) The FCA understands what it is asking of us c) Its collection is simple d) It is analysed and when analysed serves some useful purpose?

    ….. the RMAS is widely ridiculed as the data collection equivalent of the invisible suit, the benefits are seen by the FCA but are otherwise invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.

  4. “It is a croc of ***t and stinketh”.

    And the IFA’s went to the FCA and sayeth unto them:

    It is a container of excrement and it is very strong such that none may abide by it”.

    And the FCA sayeth:

    “It contains that which aids regulation, TCF and consumer relations and it is very strong”.

    And after further consultation with “themselves” they sayeth:

    “This powerful new scheme will actively promote adviser relations and growth”.

    And the Chairman of the FCA looked upon The plan and saw that it was Good

    And The Plan became Policy and named RMAR

  5. “Of particular concern is the fact that many of these worries were flagged to the regulator as part of the consultation process but nothing appears to have been done about it [them].”

    And the reason for this state of affairs is that the FSA’s consultations are just hollow, token shams to which it pays nothing but lip service. None of the responses are ever published for all to see and to debate in open forum ~ one wonders if they’re even read ~ and no independent body exists to force the FSA to take the slightest notice of any of them. The standard statement is merely a bland but completely unsubstantiated claim that the FSA has “taken them on board”, despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that in reality it’s done no such thing.

    Can or should we trust anything the FSA says? Most people, I suggest, manifestly don’t, and why should they?

  6. So far, the FSA has blown £44m (of OPM) just to morph into an equally unaccountable and even nastier Mk.II version of itself with, apparenly, hardly any changes other than the appointment of a new Chief Exec. Same people (mostly), same offices, same jobs, same salaries, continuity of pension rights, same company number ~ and the budget’s got even bigger.

    Wouldn’t this huge sum of money have been VASTLY better spent on creating an Independent Regulatory Oversight Committee charged with sorting as much as possible of what was so badly wrong with the FSA Mk.I?

    What has merely rebadging the FSA achieved thus far? Anyone?

  7. Nobody in his right mind would design a labyrinthine system with the farrago balances and controls which infect the current advisory process.

    If the aim is to benefit consumers it has failed.

    If the aim is to remove advisers from the process it is working.

    If the aim is to show the Government what a powerful and non-accountable creature the regulator is, it has worked.

  8. Julian Stevens – will you please stand for election? I’d like to see you as Prime Minister. Your comments always hit the mark and we cannot go on much longer with the current muppets in charge.

  9. Were I to become a politician, I couldn’t live with all the spin and the lies.

    Telling the truth unfortunately isn’t part of the political landscape.

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