The Tax Incentivised Savings Association is calling on the FSA to relax its conduct of business rules to make it easier to give advice on simple products online.
It says the FSA needs to relax the laws on how much information an adviser must gather about a client to enable online simplified advice to work efficiently.
Tisa says mass-market clients will increasingly look to online advice as the most affordable option as the RDR pushes IFAs towards high-net-worth clients.
Tisa distribution advisory council chair David Hazelton says uncertainty about how the FSA and Financial Ombudsman Service will view online advice prevents advisers from offering the service.
He says: “There is a definite need to be able to give this kind of simple advice online but we need more flexibility from the regulator to be able to do this.
“What IFAs want to know is that they are not going to be subject to a misselling claim 10 years down the line.”
Consillium Financial Planning managing director Kevin Morgan says: “In principle, it sounds like a good idea but you have to be wary of unscrupulous people who could use this as a short cut past giving quality advice. It would have to be available only for simple products.”
Hughes Carne IFA director Keith Jarman says: “I think it is a dangerous game to start giving advice without having at least a phone call with a client where an adviser can get a feel for their situation. However, if the banks get behind such a proposal, then the FSA will probably allow it because the banks are the ones that push these things through.”
An FSA spokeswoman says: “Advice given in any situation, whether face to face, over the phone or online, is still advice and the rules in place need to be followed.”