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Severn steps in with bid to shift burden to providers

New Aifa director general David Severn is pledging to fight for a shift in the regulatory burden towards product providers and for increased stability, certainty and lower costs for IFAs.

Describing independence as “the gold standard”, Severn says the core themes of stability, certainty and cost are paramount as the sector moves into the depolarised world.

Talking to Money Marketing, Severn said he will try to bring stability by pressuring the FSA to cut down on consultation papers and instead encourage a light-touch principle-based regulation. He also wants the regulator to streamline and clarify its strategy on treating customers fairly.

Severn thinks that IFAs need to be given certainty that if they sell a product one way that it will not be judged to be missold based on hindsight several years later.

He will lobby European regulators and the FSA to consider the knock-on costs of regulation so the true cost of new guidelines is taken into consideration.

Severn understands that sectors of the IFA community have been hostile to his appointment, particularly as candidates for the position who are practising IFAs were rejected.

He says: “It is true that I have never been an IFA but the skills needed to be an IFA and to lobby successfully and look after the needs of the members are two different things. You need to understand how Whitehall and how the regulator works and how you can use that to develop the interests of your members.

“IFAs are going through a challenging time but as long as we keep selling advice as a brand, then it will become strong. I do not think that banks will massively challenge IFAs after depolarisation. There will still be room for the respected adviser.”Plea for lower levy for IFAs, p3

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