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Sants apologises for saying 20% adviser loss acceptable

FSA chief executive Hector Sants has apologised for any offence caused when he said losing 20 per cent of advisers as a result of RDR was acceptable.

Giving evidence to the Treasury select committee on the RDR this afternoon. Sants said he had not intended to cause offence but was instead laying out data from the cost benefit analysis.

He said: “I am certainly happy to say I am sorry if I caused offence and distress, it is never our intention to cause distress in the language we use and I am more than happy to apologise that. I try to be a mild mannered individual.

“I was laying out the facts that lie behind the cost benefit analysis which underlies the RDR. I was asked what are those figures and I think you would have found it odd if I had not been able to answer that question.”

He was responding to a question from TSC member Michael Fallon who said there had been “considerable anger” about the comment made during Sants’ appearance in front of the committee in November.

Sants added it would be “very difficult” to judge what would be an acceptable figure to lose as a result of the change.

Sants also told MPs that he believed the RDR was not designed to address the savings gap.

Follow our tweets from the TSC meeting here.


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There are 43 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Pissed Off IFA 9th March 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Perhaps a 20% FSA staff loss would be acceptable. Hector included

  2. I have always been of the opinon that Sants is a self-serving greasy pole climber who will always prostitute himself by saying whatever he thinks you want him to say.

    So no reason to change my opinion.

  3. He’s a Muppet in an organisation of Muppets. Their ‘analysis’ is hopelessly flawed. I hope he stands by it when there is an epidemic of DIY investing going on and the inevitable ensuing mess.


  5. Little weasel.

  6. If he has not got the intelligence to understand the emotional reaction to this comment then he should not be in the position he is. Defending the comment is unacceptable.

    The reality is that consumers are already under insured, have inadequate retirement funds and, when left to their own devices, are normally invested in inappropriate products or funds. The FSA will not address these issues and nor will the internet or the banks. Gaining 20% via a graduate development programme should be the goal to address these issues and also improve standards.

    Some would argue that a 20% reduction in FSA staff and associated costs would be a better starting point. In addition, in certain instances, the FSA needs to develop the notion of Caveat emptor.

  7. Did he really mean to say 40% or more then?

    Keep the boss, rename FCA, what’s changed?

  8. Richard Salter 9th March 2011 at 3:57 pm

    ….and what about the phrase “be afraid” I guess he didn’t mena to cause offence with that either.

    This holier than though, clients can do no wrong, advisers are all charlatans approach has gone on far too long and i for one agree that we could start by cutting FSA numbers by 20% (or more) and no member of the public would even notice.

    Meanwhile two thirds of all those self serving burocrats at the FSA reported as being paid more than ther Prime Minister should be culled. Far better to reduce the clients costs of such over regulation, and spending the money – if it is to be taken from advisers at all (which i question) on consumer education

  9. I have never heard such a disingenuous load of crap, 40% 40% leaves 10% simplified restricted advice not confusing?? Rubbish.
    Only 10% of advisors not expecting to take further qualifications. More Rubbish.
    Sants not aware of actions against an IFA who has been stonewalled for months. Even more rubbish.
    Sants is a strong believer in accountability. When???
    Complaints Commissioner has no teeth.
    Other accountability, immune from reckless behaviour??? Surprise surprise.
    He cannot answer the question.

    This whole makes me SICK.

  10. I find it annoying that someone who has a vested interest in our industry should even think that 20% of the workforce is expendable. Using a tiny amount of joined up thinking surely that means 20% job losses at FSA, 20% cut in salary for Sants etc. All of this seems palatable to him, I am furious at the damage they are doing to our industry.

  11. Fraser Brydon - IFA 9th March 2011 at 4:00 pm

    All he has done is confirm there will be losses, the number in not known but there will losses due to “reform”. To say it is not designed to address the saving gap is saying IFAs have no impact on it…just shows how out of touch he is. The sooner he goes the better….

  12. Tyrie says Sants is immune from gross negligence i.e. being really stupid and knowing its really stupid!

  13. Frankly, the man’s a moron!

    And yes, what about the phrase, “Be afraid, be very afraid”?

    Thankfully, I’m on my way out; I’m one of the 20%. I’ve served my clients for nearly 30 years and I’ve sweated blood and tears finding a firm to pass them on to that I am confident will be able to continue to serve them well into the future.

    Oh, and I didn’t shop around to find the firm that would pay me the best deal either! I looked for a firm that would act in my clients’ interests.

  14. Brian Harrison 9th March 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I will be one of the 20% who will leave the industry in 2012. Whats ironic to me is that my daughter will take over the firm, accepting she is good at study and taking exams and her degree in financial services and chartered status will I am sure serve her well but who does Sant think trained her? I supervised her whilst she was training so what is the difference between that and grandfathering a close to retired adviser I will be 63 in 2012 with a firm build on fees and client service for me its the scrap heap because in my own mind I can not see any point is all that study for 2 years. FSA even says it will investigate previous advisers that stay in the firm. Where does mild mannered and two faced cross?

  15. Michael Fallas 9th March 2011 at 4:20 pm

    All a waste of time as the Treasury Select Committee has no power to change the FSA or FCA.

    Sants can say and do what he likes and he knows it and is soon to be in even more power and no doubt unaccountable when he moves to the EU commission.

  16. 100% FSA loss equals nil detrimental loss to consumers

  17. I AM SO FRUSTRATED! Why can’t so-called intelligent members of government see what is patently obvious? Sants and Turner are honey-tongued self-seekers who have no true understanding of our industry.
    Went to an FSA MMR roadshow recently where we were told one thing in the morning and the opposite in the afternoon. Par for the course.

  18. Any job losses are unacceptable unless through natural wastage. Cameron is saying that the UK’s coffers are empty yet Sants is happy to put thousands more out of work and reduce tax and other spending revenue. This is political and the government should make the point very clear. Sants out now!

  19. 100% loss of FSA with Sants going first, totally acceptable.
    Sorry for any offence caused,
    I am normally a very mild mannered person until the fsa is mentioned.

  20. “cost benefit analysis” the clients and the IFA’s pay the costs but I don’t see a clear benefit to either clients or Advisers…(FSA excepted)
    Have I missed the point or does he just want financial advice to be available to the wealthy only and “none advised” for the people who need the advice.

  21. If the FSA got their way they would get rid of all advisers full stop.Therefore nothing could ever go wrong and there would be nothing to regulate and they would live a blissful blameless existence and continue to do absolutely nothing to encourage saving as they do now.
    In the meantime thay would have to look at another way of generating fees.However in the autocratic,accountable to nobody,as long as they are OK Jack world they live in they would just get it from the insurance companies or banks instead.In fact the banks would pay them good money to ensure there are no IFA’s left in the industry and would continue to pay good money to ensure it’s damned impossible to get into.
    Sants was the guy wasn’t he who ballsed up the Millenium Dome opening wasn’t he.
    He basically has no idea with anything it seems to me.

  22. ”I was laying out the facts that ‘lie’ behind the cost benefit analysis…………….” – sums it all up really?

  23. I know it is very hard to listen to two renowned conomists and expect that their views are the same and that they are in agreement with any statement WITHOUT VARIATION THAT THE OTHER WOULD MAKE.

    I am aware that two leading economists did agree that Sants was a first clas PXXXX.

    The whole of the financial World would seem to know what the position is with the FSA and associated changes.

    Salary levels, staffing levels and so on yet we have a Government who is doing nothing to rectify the position.

    You could say the same applies to many issues including the uterances from the EU amd so on.

    We voted for people to lead us and to apply common sense to our industry, n,ough said

  24. Teflon Sants, a penis in disguise

  25. Sants catch phrase 9th March 2011 at 4:34 pm

    And the Sants catch phrase of the TSC day: “In the round”

  26. Ms Nicholl told off for finding TSC amusing! 9th March 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Sheila Nicoll couldn’t stop smiling, so much so at one stage the following questions was asked:

    Ms Nicholls do you find that this is amusing because my constituents don’t!

  27. Just finished watching Sants and Nicholls squirm their way through TSC session.Looking at their body language ”shifty” springs to mind.

  28. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 9th March 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Sants needs to be one of the 20%

  29. It is clearly ‘fair comment’ for Mr Sants to say that the RDR is not designed to address the savings gap. That is of course one of its worst failings. The RDR is intended to improve consumer outcomes and I would have thought that a reduced savings gap would be the sort of improved outcome that the UK needs.

  30. Michael Fallas 9th March 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I watched most of the session and found it rather tame and can’t really say it achieved anything at all that will make any difference.

    Shame really.

    Mr Sants and Ms Nicholls were smiling a lot of the time so they were clearly pleased with themselves.

    Many of the TSC panel left through the session also so even they did not seem to bothered.

    “Revolution” is about all we have left now sadly.

  31. My only surprise from the whole viewing was that Sants knew more about small firms than MS Nicoll.

    He knew almost nothing and she was as good as useless, in fact that makes her sound better than she actually was.

    He clearly knew about banking as he was a different person with the questions at the very end on a different subject.

    She just looked stupid throughout the whole proceeding and only confirmed this when she occassionally spoke.

    They did not feel as if they needed figures or support with figures by bringing any assistance.

    I thought the only real concern raised in the whole debate was the possibility of between £250m and £550m of lost wages/income for those who will lose their jobs due to the RDR.

  32. this guy is a pinch faced, beurocratic, bovine, pedant who’s emotional detachment is as calous the the feckless, philistine, slavering, self aggrandising Bank Cheif Exec’s that caused a global meltdown. Bank greed, and Sant’s lack of professional oversight screwed the whole of humanity, and yet they are still here. This automaton isn’t fit to hold this post, but is typical of the lickspittle, asscovering, spindoctoring, visionless twerps that populate all strata of politics and management. They’re the kind of educated, carrer climbers and fantasists that have dandruff, bad breath and nasal mucose that you wouldn’t have to your house for dinner in a millennia and hold ideas so far detatched from reality that they might as well be talking Martian.

    HE quite clearly “appologised” because it meand NOTHING to him. He will still get his bonus… and what is a civil servant getting a BONUS for, anyway?!

  33. John Blackmore 9th March 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I can only assume that the smiling resulted from a good deal of embarrassment or possibly a state of confusion.

    Unlike many others I do think that they are trying to do good.

    I actually feel sorry for them in a way. Imagine one day finally realizing that you have destroyed the lives of thousands, increased the costs for all clients and basically achieved nothing worthwhile.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Imagine where the road leads to with such unbelievably bad actions.

  34. Alistair E Niven 9th March 2011 at 10:49 pm

    He has clearly never handed a cheque to a widow knowing that if he hadn’t had the perseverance to sell the policy to the husband the lady would be destitute.
    He just does not understand the need as his life cover will be supplied by the FSA. We need all we can get to sell/arrange/advise to people take responsibility for themselves rather than expect someone else to provide the cover.
    Sants I’m sad to say is a waste of space and money.
    Interesting to note how many more comments are not anonymous.

  35. I have spent 37 years in this industry as Tied Agent, IFA, Multi Tied and whatever other silly label the industry could find

    I have been a Tied Agent, Associate, Sales Associae, Partner , Aurthorised Individual, Authororised Principal, Financial Mangement Consultant, Wealth Manager and on and on

    I find the general furore over RDR TCF and whatever or Regulators have thought up to increase their salaries immensly funny as since 1986 trying to inculcate any sense into these people is akin to p….ing in to the wind

    They are all jumped up,overpaid, ignorant, self serving,empire building. Civil Servants??? Run by overpaid , jumped up, hugely ignorant, self serving, corrupt , politicians.

    Ever since the inception of FIMBRA , PIA , whatever it gets called every few years it has been patently obvious that the sole inention of these organisations to to provide the people that work for them with huge salaries , lovely workplaces and probably gilt edged pensions.

    The idea that they have even the slightest interest, or even the slighest understanding, in providing proper advice to the consumers in this country is almost laughable.

    I love to watch you lot whinging about this that and the other.

    Basically the industry is B…..gered courtesy of our Governments , Regulators and us to a large extent.

    I am 60 years old and come what may I have a responsibilty to my clients (most of whom have been with me for 25 years plus) and whatever hoops the bastards purt me through, I wiil ensure that I can continue to give them the advice they seek.

    Yes I will take their Silly Exams, and whatever they throw at me to continue in a Job that is immensly satisfying, Relitvely lucrative and in my view fulfills a Social Need.
    (and whatrs more it’s what I have promised my clients to do.)

    To those of you who say they are going in 2012 cos you can’t cope with the change I can only say if you made any promises to any of your clients about the future honour them and take the silly exams . They rely on you for their advice.

    Sorry about the rant

  36. I agree with the sentiments being expressed here. Surely it is not beyond the bounds of common sense to create a compromise if the FSA / Sants had any interest or concern in this matter. It would be a simple process to grant / maintain authorisation to current long serving experienced IFA’s of good standing who are over 60 to a set age (say 65) and those that wish to continue past that age could quite reasonably be asked to demonstrate that they were sufficiently qualified to do so. It will not happen I am sure but I am equally sure that there is every possibility of a solution if the FSA really wanted to find one.

  37. I for one was extremely unimpressed with Hector Sants’ responses, which referred constantly to unspecified research and consultations carried out or commissioned by the FSA. These, as far as the FSA is concerned, apparently support everything it’s intent on imposing on the industry irrespective of the fairness, appropriateness or cost effectiveness of much of it. According to Sants, the vast majority of responses the FSA has received fully and enthusiastically support the RDR, all but a recalcitrant 10% of practitioners are beavering away diligently towards achieving QCF Level 4 and the FSA estimates that only 8 to 13% of practitioners will have fallen by the wayside come 2013 and, from all this, the general impression given was that he seems to have difficulty in understanding what all the fuss is about. On the strength of the many submissions from various quarters that the’ve received, the view of George Mudie and of several others on the panel are evidently very different. But Sants was having none of it, whilst Sheila Nicoll’s smug and self-satisfied smirk pretty much said it all.

    As for Sants’ claims about all the ways in which the FSA is accountable and his ardent support for such accountability, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such nebulous and misleading hogwash in all my life. The government has already announced that the FCA will be accountable to no one but “it’s own board”, which means, as I understand it, that it’ll be no more accountable to any outside body or agency than the FSA. Like the FSA before it, the FCA will have free rein to set its own agenda and anyone or any body that dares to try to stand in its way…….

    And finally, Sheila Nicoll stated that the FSA will “take action” against any firms exercising their right to obtain authorisation to trade from a non-UK regulatory authoirty passporting for the primary reason of avoiding the requirements of the RDR. The thing is, though, that permission from the FSA to apply for alternative authorisation is not required so, by the time the FSA finds out, there won’t be anything they can do about it. The FSA can’t fine a firm not under its regulatory jurisdiction and nor can it remove or modify its permission to trade, as the passporting firm will already have resigned its authorisation from the FSA. So, once you’ve got your new authorisation, should the FSA come knocking, you can tell them simply to get lost and go off to spoil somebody else’s life instead.

    For those who wish to watch the proceedings for themselves, go to

  38. George Mudie MP asked Hector Sants if RDR was a done deal. Yes came the Sants reply unless you can show the FSA evidence otherwise. George Mudie then said why is it that an elected MP and a member of the TSC is told by an unelected quango that RDR is a done deal when the elected body is still reviewing RDR. Mr Mudie further went on to say it is for the FSA to show the TSC evidence and not the other way around! Mr Mudie has hit the nail on the head. This is even more important than RDR, it is about the rule of law, human rights and democracy. There is no place in a democracy for an unelected legislator that is not accountable to the judiciary (as Andrew Tyrie pointed out) or accountable to parliament (as George Mudie pointed out).

  39. A few thousand jobs went at Corus (British Steel) and it has never been out of the headlines.

    More than that number are to be lost by Sants actions and it has not been reported anywhere.

  40. Agree with Simon Mansell
    Even more important than rdr is the fact that an unelected quango that is unacountable full stop, has any place in a democracy.
    Whatever happens I believe George Mudie is very uncomfortable with this situation and will not allow this status quo if he can change it.

  41. a principles-based approach does not work with individuals who have no principles.”

  42. History lesson - how the FSA defines consultation 10th March 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Sants kept taking his authority from the numerous consultations which does rather assume these consultation has some basis in fact.
    Like me you may not have recognised the hordes of disgruntled consumers that the FSA claims to represent. Remember the FSA based there anti commission findings on an Australian survey of three firms and ignored their own Charles Rivers findings which could show no commission bias!

    I guess the first consultation started with CP121. Like the more resent Australian study the results then were equally week and are a good example of what the FSA mean by consultation: CP121 used only 3 research companies were used – NOP, IFF and ORC. NOP spoke to 1905 people, only 28% of whom had used a financial adviser (tied or IFA) in the past year – that’s 533.4 people who could even comment constructively. It gets better. IFF based their research on only 60 interviews. It gets better. ORC, who produced the research on probably the most contentious areas “Potential Purchasers” and “Fees and Commission” based their research on?? Go on Guess? 20 interviews!

  43. Look everyone, MOBILISE! it’s going to be too late.
    If a bank, network, insurance company or IFA had the number if complaints levelled at them that Hector Sants has or the FSA have, there would be an investigation. Imagine if an IFA company director or IFA company was being vilified in the financial press to this extent, the FSA would remove permissions, declare the director as unfit but…. The FSA & Hector are untouchable!
    We MUST RISE UP! listen AIFA, NETWORKS, IFAs and all, we all are at risk here. We must take physical action by going to Canary Wharf and blockading the FSA. only when we declare enough is enough will people take notice and this farce / nightmare will come to an end!
    You may think you are ok this time but… There will be a next!

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