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MM leader: The struggle towards RDR readiness

As we approach the RDR deadline problems around the implementation of the new rules continue to rise to the surface.

Last week Money Marketing revealed Santander had suspended its 800-strong team of investment advisers as they do not meet the requirements for “RDR suitability and processes”. The bank has given no indication of when its advisers will be RDR-ready.

The same day it was revealed that most building society customers will be unable to get pensions advice for an unknown period of time as the Legal & General pensions product used by most societies does not allow adviser charging.

There are likely to be more revelations in the weeks ahead as the RDR rules begin to bite.

If large firms with significant resources are having difficulty meeting the FSA’s new rules then it is no surprise that many smaller firms are also struggling.

The FSA’s latest data from September suggests most advisers are likely to meet the new qualification requirements, although there will be a minority who do not. The regulator’s zero tolerance stance of forcing anyone who does not meet the deadline to deauthorise seems needlessly draconian. A three or six month window to ensure advisers who are only one exam away do not need to go through a lengthy reauthorisation process would be a more sensible and pragmatic approach.

Firm transformation and creating a sustainable business under the new charging regime was always going to be a far bigger concern than examinations.

The last minute VAT flip-flopping from HM Revenue & Customs and the pension minister’s decision to launch an urgent review of consultancy charging, which could see the charging method banned, both highlight a lack of joined up thinking between Government and the regulator which has caused needless instability so close to the RDR deadline.

The FSA is hardly one to judge firms on their RDR planning when policymakers have left so many important decisions to the last minute themselves.

The regulator says it will offer some flexibility to firms around charging models as they find their feet in the new RDR world. It must be true to its word and recognise the huge amount of work the IFA sector has done to try and abide by its new rules.

Allowances should be made for any small cracks caused by the FSA’s insistence that its arbitrary deadline is met at all costs.

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Comments

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

  1. Steady on, or else Nic C will accuse you of behaving like Perry!

  2. Let’s hope L&G and other non-RDR ready insurers can petition government for an outbreak of common sense!

    This implementation process is clearly a complete farce. Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. I wonder which side of the argument the FSA fall on? Where’s the brewery?

  3. Kevin Walker - Blackett Walker Ltd 14th December 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Well bearing in mind that RDR has been signposted for years and the FSA has insisted that there will be no extensions/backsliding most businesses should be RDR ready. The trouble has been that most platforms have not been able to tell people how they are going to unbundle and deal with adviser charging. Then you have the FSA and the pension regulator at the last minute interfering with corporate and group pension business. The words brewery and a small libation come to mind !

  4. Noone will know how weel or badly they are actually doing under the RDR until after they have their first visit from FSA/FCA. That will be the time it will hit the fan when FCA look at what we are all doing and say “No no no no, that is not what we meant at all. This is model is not TCF and you must go back to the drawing board…… Oh and by the way here is your fine, recompense you clients, and dont sell another thing until this is all sorted out. See you in 6 months to see how you are doing.” As has been said before, last one out switch off the lights and close the door.

  5. RDR preparation fully done…. Switched everything we could @ 7% commish, pension transfers @ 7% then a further 7 % on the tax free cash into a bond. Churned every life policy we could and did annuities for those left. Company bank account emptied, staff paid off and client bank sold. Why?

    WE DEAUTHORISED YESTERDAY!!! And we’re letting every other bugger pick up the tab for our crap advice. Worried? Only whether or not the beach weather will be hot or really hot. See-yah

  6. “sensible and pragmatic approach”? From the FSA? Hadn’t you noticed? The FSA doesn’t do “sensible and pragmatic”, as we’ve seen with its totally inflexible and unyielding stance towards commission from legacy products which, as a result, will slowly wither and die. Welcome to the Brave New World of the Retail Damage Review. The FSA prefers an approach based on: This is what we’ve decided shall happen, this is the day from which it’s going to happen and tough shit for anyone who doesn’t clear all the required hoops and hurdles.

    As for the FSA’s optimistically small estimate of how many authorised individuals aren’t going to be L4 qualified by the end of the year, it will be interesting to compare the numbers not as at 31.1.12 and 1.1.13 (which may not show a substantial difference) but those as at 1.1.12 and 1.1.13 (which, I suspect, will show a much larger difference). Many have already de-authorised voluntarily.

    It will also be interesting to see the FSA’s reaction when Linda Woodhall’s prediction that “all advice after 31.12.12 will be up to scratch” turns out to have been completely wrong. Rogues will remain, they’ll just be qualified rogues.

    Perhaps the FSA’s response will be that it was too lenient in setting the new qualifications bar at L4 and that everyone must now start striving to attain L6. After all, all the industry’s problems stem from lack of adequate qualifications on the part of intermediaries selling its wares, right? The ArchCru and KeyData debacles tell us so.

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