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Sesame in 2.5m fight after FSA error

Sesame is in dispute with the FSA over a 2.5m demand it received after an error by the regulator meant it was undercharged last year.

Network members could face an extra charge of 670 per adviser if the regulator succeeds in recouping the money it says it accidentally failed to collect last year.

The network has written to members explaining the situation. It is disputing the FSA’s demand that the full amount should be paid now. Sesame has not yet accepted the bill, which, if it does become payable, will be passed on to its 3,782 full service RIs, although it will look at ways that payments can be spread.

The initial bills for 2004/05 were sent out for 1,442 per full service registered indiv- idual, which meant there was no increase from the previous year. In May, the FSA said most fees would either go down or stay the same.

Sesame head of strategic propositions Alistair Conway says: “It is hard enough when fees increase year on year without an additional bill being added on at the last minute. Members might not welcome these fees but they accept them. What hurts is not being able to plan for them corr- ectly. It is up to the FSA how they handle the spread of this, if there is a hole in their accounting, but simply to send us an extra bill will not wash.”

FSA spokeswoman Samantha Bennett says: “We have made an error on Sesame’s billings for 2004/05. It only affects Sesame and we are in discussions with them over how to reach an agree- able conclusion.”

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