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The good, the bad and the Police

It was a mixed bag last week in the world of regulation. Aifa welcomed the FSA’s decision to press ahead with the proposed reform of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The reform, agreed at the FSA’s latest board meeting, would see costs spread more evenly across the financial services industry resulting in fees for some advisers falling by around 50 per cent.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says the Compensation Scheme is a vital regulatory safety net but is in need of urgent reform if it is to continue to deliver its objectives.

He says: “We are extremely pleased that they are pressing ahead with reform despite opposition from certain sections of the industry. We will soon have a fairer and more robust Compensation Scheme, which will benefit consumers and the industry.”

“We hope the FSA will implement these reforms at the earliest opportunity.
From the initial figures set out in the Review, many IFAs could see the current FSCS bill of £1,200 per head fall by around 50 per cent.”

On another positive note, MM revealed Robert Reid is to take over from Carole Nicholls as president of the Personal Finance Society.

Reid has been selected by the PFS board and the handover will officially take place at the society’s annual conference in November.

Chartered Insurance Institute spokesman Elliot Lane says: “Robert Reid is an extremely active member of the PFS and has been for many years. He is a leading figure in the financial planning market and was an obvious choice to replace Carole Nicholls.”

In the naughty chair last week was Liverpool-based IFA Michael Sheron, who was banned by the FSA from carrying out regulated activities after finding that he was not fit and proper to oversee or manage a business.

Sheron was a partner at Sheron & Company Financial Advisers and was solely responsible for its day-to-day business.

The FSA found that Mr Sheron lacked competence and capability. He failed to demonstrate that he was ready, willing and organised to comply with regulatory requirements and standards or with his professional obligations and ethical standards.

FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says: “Sheron’s lack of competence and capability led to detriment both for customers and product providers. Sheron poses a serious risk to consumers and the industry in the regulated financial services sector, and we have banned him from performing any management functions in relation to any regulated business as a result.”

Sheron has decided not to appeal the ban.

And in the midst of it all, the FSA has joined forces with the Police Mutual Assurance Society to deliver the FSA’s financial capability material to the Police Service.

Police Mutual Assurance Society claims it is the first financial services firm to have adopted the financial capability material within its own distribution model, rather than using the FSA’s pool of volunteer presenters.

The incorporated friendly, which tends to the financial welfare of the police force, says this now forms part of the proposition offered by Police Mutual staff to police forces across the UK.

Police Mutual general manager sales and marketing James Henderson says: “We already deliver worksite seminars to over 25,000 police officers and staff every year and remain convinced that a quality educational approach backed with straightforward direct offer products is a compelling offer for our customers and so we are delighted to add the FSA’s Financial Capability material to our proposition.

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