In its latest report, the FSA proposes a distinction between independent advice and sales advice channels but notes that sales can include advice.
The FSA will consult further on how to implement the changes and make them clear to consumers and plans to introduce a staged transition up to end-2012, although firms could implement some of the proposals sooner.
IMA’s authorised funds and tax director Julie Patterson says: “The IMA has supported the FSA’s aims throughout and welcomes the open dialogue that the FSA has maintained with the industry. The latest proposals are, though, a mixed bag. We remain concerned whether consumers will understand the concept of sales advice. It is important that any new standards or restrictions be embedded in rules, that those rules be applicable to all sectors, and that they apply appropriately to firms that are providers or distributors or both.
She adds:“There will also be some significant operational and technical issues to address to achieve complete and consistent separation of product and advice costs for all sectors.”