Aifa director general Chris Cummings says: “FSA’s Consultation Paper is a positive and considered response that will benefit consumers, and allow the development of the wider industry and IFA profession.
“There is now a real opportunity for IFAs to demonstrate the value of independent advice to consumers. Firms must take advantage of the distinction the RDR has made between those who are on the side of the consumer and those who represent a product provider.”
In particular, Aifa has welcomed the RDR’s proposals for a separation between independent and restricted advice.
Cummings says: “A separation of the market will provide real benefit to consumers. The FSA has rightly refocused the review on the needs of the consumer with the proposals offering real clarity, creating clear blue water between those offering truly independent advice and those offering restricted advice from a limited range of products and providers.”
However, Aifa has also urged caution over the cost of proposals. It says the additional costs, both monetary and time, required to fulfill the RDR requirements are substantial and should not be underestimated, or minimised.
Cummings has welcomed the introduction of adviser charging across the market, which he says will provide a level playing field in the market.
He says: “The proposals will allow firms to be clear about what they are offering to their clients, underlining the positive long-term relationships many IFAs have with them.”
Aifa says it supports the move to QCA level 4 competence assessment. Cummings says: “The decision to allow a form of work based ‘alternative’ assessments, up to 2012, will mean existing advisers will not be forced from the industry. We are pleased that FSA has listened to our concerns and we will continue to work with FSA on this important aspect of the proposals.