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MPs want generic advice role defined

The Treasury select committee says further consideration of the relationship between full and generic advice is needed if generic advice is to be successful in promoting financial inclusion.

The committee’s report into financial inclusion calls on the FSA to examine and lay out at which point advice ceases to be generic and bec-omes regulated.

The MPs say that “careful consideration” needs to be given in particular to the extent to which information gathered during the generic advice process can be relied upon by a regulated adviser.

The report says the committee would welcome accredited courses for generic financial advisers, combined with a set of quality assurance standards, that should be developed by the FSA with the financial services skills council.

The MPs recommend that the Treasury should take responsibility for discussions to broker an agreement between the FSA, the industry and other interested parties.

Issues to be ironed out include who would be most appropriate to deliver and co-ordinate a national financial advice network, how it will be funded and what, if any, charges are levied.

The MPs suggest that such a scheme could be funded through a partnership between public and private sectors and call on the Government to indicate what funding would be available and lead discussions with the private sector over funding.

The report says there are strong arguments for resources targeted at groups excluded from financial advice to be free at the point of use.

It says: “We expect the FSA to accord high priority to its work on developing a clear definition of generic financial advice and how it differs from product-related advice.

“In particular, the point at which advice ceases to be generic and becomes part of regulated sales advice needs further consideration.”


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