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Only banks will benefit from FSA regime

It is now official. The Treasury select committee says that the FSA is guilty of “systematic failure of duty” over Northern Rock.

So, during the last few years while the FSA has been responsible for the regulation of mortgages and banks, among other areas, what has it come up with? Continuous change, treating customers fairly and the retail distribution review, costing us millions of pounds in unnecessary extra costs, with no discernible benefit, except to banks which want to be able to resurrect direct salesforces if the original proposals go ahead.

Astonishingly, during the launch of the original proposals, this same regulator thought that if someone only charged fees, they could call themselves independent, even if they were tied agents.

If the FSA cannot distinguish between the two, what hope is there for the public, when there are more types of advisers being mooted in the RDR?

The regulator should have hung its head in shame the day that it did away with polarisation, which was clear and understood by the public.

Again, this was a sop to the banks and we seem to be doing it all over again. It has to be asked to what purpose except to increase the banks’ market share.

If the Government wants the public to save, then it has to reduce their debt.

Instead, the FSA allowed lenders to provide unsupportable levels of borrowing based on absurd income multiples and we all now know what that has led to – another failing of the regulator to stop the greed of these institutions, at such huge and indefensible cost to everyone else.

This seems to be like the story of the emperor’s new clothes, where no one will actually say how things really are for fear of repercussions.

In reality, the RDR and TFC are nonsense where IFAs are concerned, simply because if they did not follow these principles, then they would not keep and nurture their clients for the many years that they do.

So why is there such emphasis on regulating IFAs? The rest is just waffle by vested parties vying for market share under any guise that will provide it.

It is about time the question was asked – is the FSA fit for purpose when it can continually get things so wrong?

David Barnett
Principal, DPB Independent Financial Services, Edgware, Middlesex

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