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MM leader: FSA needs to heed concerns

Following recent comments from Aifa director general Chris Cummings and Conservative Shadow pensions minister Niger Waterson questioning the RDR timetable, it appears certain industry voices have become preoccupied with creating an artificial divide in the adviser community.

To suggest the IFA sector can be neatly segmented between those who have got the required RDR exams or are confident of attaining them and therefore support the reforms and those who have not and do not is to paint and simplistic and unrepresentative picture.

As the level of debate on the Money Marketing website shows, the situation is far more complex. Many advisers who already have the required qualifications or are studying for them are worried about the potential damage to consumers and the industry of strict arbitrary deadlines after which some advisers would be banned from practising.

Many advisers see the huge benefits to their own businesses of increasing professionalism and are on the road to achieving the qualifications but this does not necessarily mean they accept it should be enforced on all other practitioners in a short timeframe.

Money Marketing has been a resolute champion of the drive to increase professionalism in the IFA sector. This week, we publish the second issue of our new publication Adviser Evolution, aimed at helping as many of our readers as possible reach the FSA’s RDR requirements.

But we remain extremely concerned about a sizeable number of experienced advisers, many of whom may only want to remain in the industry for a few years post-2012, who are worried about meeting the new requirements.

Genuine work-based assessments will help the situation and it must be hoped the FSA will listen to the strong representations it has received on this subject from a number of providers and, notably, the Personal Finance Society.

The FSA must also think seriously about Aifa’s proposals to reward advisers who increase their professionalism with regulatory dividends such as less regulatory scrutiny and lower fees, rather than enforcing strict deadlines.

Against this backdrop, the hostile comments made by FSA director of conduct policy division Sheila Nicoll last week about advisers being “in denial” appear misjudged. In fact, the IFA community more than anyone has its eyes wide open to the damage certain parts of the RDR reforms could inflict on consumers. Perhaps it is time the FSA stopped such bullying tactics and spent more time listening.

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. well I’m in denial.

    I deny that Q level 4 is needed for 95% of the sales made every day – Product Regulation is required here.

    I deny that Q level 4 is sufficient for the remaining 5% who offer complex Independent Financial Advise. Q level 6 minimum is required here.

    I deny that fee only makes sense. The 95% who really sell for a living should be allowed to continue on commission albeit with maximum levels imposed.

    I deny that a 15 year long stop is not required.

    I deny that TCF should be allowed to over rule the laws of contract.

    I deny…..

  2. I think anything that makes the life of the so-called IFA as hard as possible is a good thing. Most of the mis-selling of all products that have occured in the last 20 years or more are largely down to the likes of IFAs – the sooner they are dealt with properly in the shortest possible time, the better.

  3. That last comment must have been posted by someone at the British Bankers Association, who is a coward to post such rubbish anonymously

  4. There you go – that’s my name (although not sure why you want the information). I take it you are another IFA. I have worked in financial services regulation in the UK and overseas for more than 20 years, so perhaps my memory is longer than yours. Have you forgotten missold: pension transfers and opt-outs, endowment policies, precipice bonds, self-certified mortgages, to name but a few. All very damaging to the industry and to consumers, but nice little earners for the IFAs…

  5. Mr Ling. You are tarring ALL IFAs with the saem bruch and I find your comments therefore personally insulting. I coule equally insult your professed profession as a “regulator”, but I would not stoop so low as to do so as I have seen both good and bad regulators and compliance consultants, just as I have seen good and bad advisers and banks.

  6. Mr Ling – I’m even more concerned now that you have said that you have worked in Financial Services for more than 20 years.

    Yes there are bad IFAs but it is not true that “mis-selling of all products that have occured in the last 20 years or more are largely down to the likes of IFAs” that honor is usually claimed by Bank Tied Agents and Direct Sales.

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