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Regulator rules out refunds for double-charged advisers

The FSA has told IFAs who have had to pay double fees after leaving a network to become directly authorised that they are unlikely to get a refund.

Brigham Brining director David Brigham raised the issue at Money Marketing Roadshow in Leeds last week after he left Berkeley Independent Advisers at the end of March to become directly auth- orised and found he had to pay an annual fee twice to the regulator.

FSA head of department, small business Michael Lord said the regulator was aware of the issue but it would “open up a can of worms” if refunds were granted.

Unless an adviser moves from a network on December 31, he or she will have to pay the FSA fee twice, once through the network and then again for direct authorisation.

Brigham called on the FSA to allow some sort of quarterly or half-yearly rebate when firms change authorisation status midway through a year.

But Lord said the FSA has to account for its annual costs up front and so has to charge an up-front fee to advisers. He said the FSA has been looking at ways of dealing with the problem but claimed that plans such as charging fees on a quarterly basis were impractical. He said: “We are aware of the issue but it would open up a can of worms if we offered ref- unds – do we then offer them to everyone?”

Brigham said: “How would a client feel if they were treated this way?”

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