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TSC member: ‘Select committee flogging a dead horse on RDR’

Treasury select committee member Andrea Leadsom has warned advisers that keeping up the pressure over the RDR is low on the committee’s list of priorities.

Speaking to Money Marketing at the Conservative party conference in Manchester this week, Leadsom, who is MP for South Northamptonshire, says the FSA’s rejection of the committee’s call for a one-year delay was “infuriating”. But she adds: “We feel we have done as much as we can. As far as I am concerned, I think we have come as far as we can with the matter simply because we have so many really important things we need to look at.

“We have given a lot of time to the RDR, we have made our recommendations and we cannot force the FSA to do what we say. It is regrettable but I suspect we will probably not pursue it.”

Leadsom says the TSC must “pick its battles”, which include concerns about the new regulatory system, the Independent Commission on Banking’s final report and the volatile economic situation.

She says: “There are a huge number of things we need to do and in the end you cannot keep flogging a dead horse.”

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There are 33 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. thats it Andrea, roll over, let the bully boys win, after all you’ve made a recommendation what more can you do…….?

  2. There we go, what was is the point of this TSC? They have no power whatsoever against the FSA, Cromwell must be spinning in his grave!

  3. Says much about Britain today – expediency before principle every time! If we cannot rely on our elected representatives to stand up and be counted, we might as well pack it all in now. We are fast approaching the stage where we are being ‘ruled’ by bureaucrats at home and abroad. They have been elected by no-one and seem to be accountable to no-one and have an increasing say in what we can and can’t do in our lives.

  4. An unelected and unaccountable mob of failures and incompetents just sticks two fingers up to the Mother of all Parliaments!

    A very sad day for democracy…

  5. Surely the most telling part of this article is the statement that our democratically elected Government cannot force the FSA to take action.

    It must never, ever again be the case that any unelected body, Quango or organisation has “power” beyond the elected representatives of the public.

    The FSA should recognise this, and act morally.

    Those responsible for giving these sadly misguided small group of individuals the authority to fundamentally alter an entire industry without having to answer to anyone, especially those working within said industry, should hang there heads in utter shame.

  6. I believe this is exactly what the FSA predicted when they publically snubbed the Select Committee’s in the first place.

    If the committee does not take this further, it re-inforces the FSA’s views of themselves that they are accountable to nobody. I have read about the additional powers the FCA wants once they take over, if nobody in Government stands up to them, and make them accountable they will turn in to something, in my view, pretty similar to the Stasi police in the old Germany. How scary is that!?

  7. Disgraceful – this unaccountable, parasitic quango must be taken in hand – it is a dismal day when the likes of Sants and his croanies can override all at a whim – appearing to weald more power than Parliament itself.

    Notwithstanding the fact that they are systematically destroying the FS industry – and the COST good god.

    The TSC/Government needs to grow some proverbial ‘gonads’

  8. So there we have it, the RDR is not “really important”.

    That just about sums up the whole sorry state at the moment.

    But it begs the question – What IS really important in the eyes of the TSC in the financial world..

  9. If RDR did not involve the requirement for all advisers to acheive Diploma 4 level qualifications, then the lobbying of the TSC would be minimal. Other aspects of RDR have quite a lot of good in them and certainly consumer friendly.
    For the FSA to insist that raising knowledge (by examination) is the real bone of contention amongst advisers and i fail to see how this will mean clients get “better” advice. They wont: Products havnt changed, only the tax treatment and ever increasing costs on the business (FSA levy and compensation) which will drag and continue to drag the net return from investment down. It’s getting to the stage where putting money under the bed is a very cheap option and after inflation still a good option.
    Come on FSA do what other regulators do and oversee the sector, Do OFWAT insist that all Water meter readers are retrained. No just provide the mentoring and for the odd rogue adviser (who causes hell for the rest of us) show them the door.

  10. “we cannot force the FSA to do what we say”
    Ms Leadsom really needs to think about this appalling admission and ask herself about the “great British Democracy”parliamentarians are so keen to promote abroad.
    The FSA are an unelected, unaccountable, out of control monster, that everyone, even those with the power to change things, is afraid of.
    Toddy has summed it up nicely. We might as well be governed by the Stasi.
    Get out of FS now while you still have the freedom to do so. Do not bother to vote at the next opportunity. What will be the point?

  11. This is typical of a politician that only becomes concern after a major disaster has happened. I suspect they’ll be running for cover when the estimated 10,000 consultants and support staff find themselves out of work.

    The FSA’s own figures suggest that they are prepared to lose 20% of the 50,000 consultants, this will mean a drop of over 10,000 consultants plus support staff. This figure could reach over 20,000 job losses with support staff.

    I find it incredible that a politician has more important things to discuss than saving an important industry that employs many people both directly and indirectly. All I can say is why the hell do we bother voting for them.

  12. The RDR is here to stay. Fact! Evolve or leave, simple. The requirement for higher qualifications is a good one, though the rest is possible not. My sympathies with a lot of my friends in the profession but the reality is, come 1st Jan 2013, there will be a new world.

    One final point, the commentator who said that the time is fast approaching when we are ruled by bureacrats from abroad – we have been for some time and will continue to be whilst in the EU.

  13. Any attempts to sway the FSA on any issue at all were inevitably doomed to failure from the word go, as would be any attempts to get the law changed to make the FSA accountable for its policies and actions.

    The government has already announced that the FCA, like the FSA before it, will be accountable only to its own board, which means accountable to nobody. Hector Sants knows this full well and all but told the TSC so. Sheila Nicoll merely sat before the committee smirking smugly, in the knowledge that the FSA is effectively untouchable. George Mudie’s sharp rebuke of such obvious contempt was understandable but, in practical terms, completely impotent. As a result, the TSC has basically had to retreat with its tail between its legs, citing other matters as being of greater priority. I somehow doubt that, but there’s nothing the committee can do, which does rather beg the question: Of just what value is the TSC at all? It’s just a bunch of men in suits asking a few searching questions but with no power actually to do anything if they aren’t satisfied with the answers they’re given.

  14. I contacted Andrea Leadsom, after reading this article, and said it was disheartening to hear that the TSC were not going to pursue the FSA over the RDR and she was good enough to reply very quickly, with the following:

    “I didn’t actually say that. I told the journalist that we have some critical issues such as the ICB report, the new UK and EU regulatory environment, the potential for a new round of QE, the Eurozone crisis, and a potential new recession that are all calling for urgent attention from the TSC.

    The trouble with politics is that every person in the country believes that MPs should ‘fight to the death’ over the issue that most concerns them. Yet they want fewer MPs and fewer costs of providing them with support teams etc. In the end it’s a numbers game and we have to prioritise the time we have. It may well be that we have another go at the FSA. I would be keen to do so.”

    I have to say that her reply lifted my gloom, a little, so I thought I would share it with you guys (with her permission).

  15. What is wrong with Government when it fiddles while ‘Rome burns’? (really). The economy is teetering again (still) on another meltdown and instead of getting it back on its feet, they allow the FSA to kill recovery at birth with RDR & MMR! Confidence is low and no-one is spending (TESCO). First time buyers are the fuel for property sales and they can’t borrow with reasonable deposits, therefore 2nd time buyers can’t sell and buy their next home etc… A car won’t move without petrol and until the FSA & successor release the bindings that are stifling the economy, we will (the country), FAIL. Government are looking for honey whilst the FSA are killing the bees!

  16. Misquoted or not, the TSC does have bigger issues to address and concern has been expressed that the TSC are seriously overworked. So priorities have to be identified and a small group like IFAs are sadly neglected.
    But I do think accountability of the FSA to Parliament is actually a bigger issue and the RDR is merely a small example of how this does not work at present and may not in the future.

  17. What a damning indictment of the workings of the FSA and the monster that the last government created…

    You just know in 5 years time MPs are going to be looking back at the FSA and apologising for what it acheived.

    It’s not been about regulation it’s been about decimation…

    One of my best IFA friends, a guy I trust and I know does his utmost for clients, threw in the towel last week after a job offer outside financial services came calling.

    It wasn’t just the exams – it’s the never ending paperwork and ridiculous amounts of box ticking exercises. we’re all having to go through these days.

    I hope Sants and Nichol are proud of their accomplishments because somehow I have a feeling a little way down the line no-one else will be….

  18. Just to add to my last post this lady & the rest of the TSC need to realise that letting the FSA stick their fingers up at MPs on the TSC …sets a dangerous precedent going forward.

    I’m not sure if the FSA are even going to take any notice of EU legislation…but it’s interesting that Hector Sants has been busying himself with EU regulators.

    If it does turn out that RDR becomes irrelevant due to EU directives in the future then Andrew Tyrie’s speech to Sants and Nichol’s at the last TSC meeting with them…. about accountability and statutory bodies doing “really stupid things knowing they’re really stupid” will have all come true.

  19. There will be a middle class revolt in time. I’m not advocating it, I’m predicting it! So many people are totally disenchanted with inexperienced – in real life – and self-serving politicians, bullying bureaucrats, lack of democracy and greedy big business that the build up of pressure amongst even the disenchanted “respectable” will burst forth soon.

    People are already hurting; this will be nothing compared to when the Great Depression of 2012 hits the fan. Sorry to have to say it, but I think things are going to get pretty ugly.

    The politicos, bureaucratic power-heads and greedy big businesses have been warned by the well-meaning cognoscenti and the lobbyists but they just carry on regardless.

    It’s a pity too that there are so many so “blind” or apathetic IFAs. Those who think that being RDR ready and qualified to the hilt will protect them from the Regulator’s caprices, the battle of wills behind RDR and MIFID II and the impending collapse of “first world” financial markets may be deluding themselves. I say “may” because I hope that I am wrong. Time will tell, but I’m planning for my exit strategy now.

  20. After all the efforts my MPs Harriett Baldwin and Mark Garnier have put in since our first meeting with them have all gone out of the window by their fellow MP throwing in the towel and allowing them to be bullied into submission after getting so far! One assumes she speaks on behalf of Andrew Tyrie and the rest of the TSC and presume they have been brought to task by Osbourne & Hoban to dump us! Thanks a bunch Andrea!

  21. So Government no longer has control of this country then?

    What a state of affairs when “Government” has concerns about a major shake up of the financial services industry but has no ability to act on those concerns.

    Let us not forget RDR was debated in Parliament last year and the many MP’s who attended from all parties expressed real concern yet Mr Hoban failed to answer any questions and basically ignored these concerns.

    One can only conclude that the FSA is the equivalent of a “dictatorship” if they ignore the concerns of Government.

    Government must equally be assumed to have failed despite the powers of Parliament they have available to use.

    If MP’s give up so easily then maybe they should step down or better still let them all be subject to the same criteria they are forcing upon us.

    Great to see MP’s having to take exams to continue as an MP, pay for the mistakes they and their colleagues make and of course be liable for everything they do until they die!!

  22. Forgot to add what is the point of the TSC if they simply roll over when they come across a problem?

  23. This beggars belief, although once again proving that the concerned financial industry have been listening to nothing less than political hollow words from certain politicians that have no idea what they are speaking about and show that really they are not concerned anyway.
    The country is in financial turmoil with the banks being the major offender and with the assistance from the FSA who forgot they have/had to regulate these large institutions.
    Now we have a wet goverment with politicians that have little experience in dealing with major problems who now want to pass billions to the banks in the form of quantitive easing thinking that this is going to stimulate the employment opportunities in the private market place with for the unemployed. Duhhh!
    and what do you have now
    an MP who is hanging the financial market out to dry by allowing the FSA to do what they want when they want with no accountability for desimating an industry and vastly increasing the unemployment figures within the private market place.
    This is a basic contradiction that even a small child could pick up on.
    Andrea, please use the piece of advice that I’m sure your mother told you when you were younger, you have 2 ears and 1 mouth use them accordingly, and, if you don’t know too much about a subject then don’t make a comment.

  24. It was Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative government that established IFAs as a sustainable business model. How disheartening then that a Conservative led government has agreed to implement Mr Brown’s RDR, a move which will undoubtedly see the end of independent advice in the UK. What the Conservatives giveth, they taketh away…

  25. I’ve finished my level 4, been adviser charging for some years and increased capital adequacy in time for the changes which have now been put back… BUT, whether you agree with the RDR or not, is immaterial. We are suppossed to live in a democracy and it has now been proven we do not…
    If we do not live in a democracy with rules which we all abide by, then none of us should abide by the rules and I look forward to dealing with the F-pack and MPs on that basis in future now it has been proven where I stand (at the bottom of the pile with no rights and a pointless vote)

  26. I should have retired two years ago but the fall in markets has meant my retirement pot has fallen too so I need to work a few more years which while I ma in good health I am quite happy to do.

    The real problem though is what do I do with over a hundred clients that I cannot place with another firm because they dont do what I do. I also cannot find 400 hours a year to study even if I could remember all the useless information I would need to learn for what I do is niche business. Dont suppose the Conservative party are really worried thoug about another 2000 jobless. Nor millions of the public with nowhere credible to get financial advice

  27. As Mssrs Sants & Nicoll implied at the TSC when they were interviewed, the FSA is not accountable for its actions unless it can be seen to be recklessly negligent and even then, who is going to sue them, if a parliamentary committee cannot even get them to concede on a simply one year delay in implementation of RDR, the TSC as a body should resign en masse and let the FSA ruin the industry, because that is what it is going to do.

    Early retirement is looking even more attractive, walking the lakeland fells, turning pieces of wood on my lathe into bowls and candlesticks and other things of beauty, growing vegetables and flowers and actually having a life again, instead of this constant pressure to run a business, gain higher and higher qualifications (if anyone thinks QCF 4 is going to be the end of it, think again)

    Mmmm – or in the alternative apply for a job at the FSA after all any average iFA is more than up to their job.

  28. im guessing the only peolpe against rdr are those that cant be bothered or more likely CANT pass the exams..

    instead of moaning, get stuck in and pass them!!

  29. The attitude is frustrating I agree, but the FSA is asking nothing more than high standards of qualification and CAR, so what’s the problem. It’s not as if this is news?

  30. The problem is neil, that the FSA is an unelected unaccountable quango which acts outwith the rule of law. This is not news either but it is a problem to any right thinking person. Or are you happy being unnder thhe control of a dictator style regime ?
    If they do not have to pay any heed to the TSC, what is to stop them saying we cannot work at all, unless we are all blond haired and blue eyed.
    Think about it neil even cats and dogs have more rights than IFAs’

  31. Open Letter:

    Dear Concerned Hon. Members of Parliament,

    Thank you so much for what you attempted to achieve in bringing some common sense and accountability to the FSA.

    It was a sad day for democracy and common sense when it was confirmed yesterday by Andrea Leadsom that the Mother of Parliaments has no control over, and has given up on influencing the undemocratic, capricious and failed spawn of Gordon Brown, the FSA. The FSA, as we know, bears a huge responsibility for failing to regulate the banks properly anti 2008 whilst over-regulating many thousands of IFAs and their staff out of existence. It is little wonder that conspiracy theories and talk of hidden agendas’ abound

    It is thought that Mr Sants and his smiling assistant Ms Nicoll will be celebrating this weekend, together with their great ally Mark Hoban: they know for certain now that they run an untouchable State within a State.

    Is it too late or impossible to pass and Act of Parliament to make the FSA and their successor accountable to other than themselves? Never again should unelected QUANGOs be allowed to “stick their fingers up” at an elected Parliament. We do not forget that the FSA failed miserably in regulating the banks and in dealing with the Northern Rock fiasco – whilst rewarding itself handsomely in the process.

    It is quite apparent now that small IFA firms have no future when the risks and costs of running such businesses, largely caused by a capricious and dictatorial regulator – coupled with the inability of owners to plan ahead (yet again) due to the uncertain outcome of the MIFID II versus RDR arguments on the near horizon – far outweigh the potential benefits and attractiveness of remaining in this business for masochists. An estimated 20,000 plus jobs will be lost in the IFA sector it is thought. Long established friendly societies too will close down with a further unnecessary loss of jobs and, importantly, a loss of valuable services to the less privileged members of our society. Does anyone care? This is a rhetorical question: the apparent answer is “not really!” or “not enough!”.

    Thank you once again (and this includes all of the MPs who attended the RDR Debate on the coldest night of 2010, with the one exception of the FSA’s personal representative there present) for your personal interest and, where appropriate, for your tireless proactive help on behalf of IFAs and friendly societies.

    With my sincere gratitude

    Yours faithfully

    David Chubb

  32. Ms Leadsom is our MP and my experience and that of her predecessor is that they are quite unable to do anything when it really matters. Local issues, maybe, but not on larger issues where the status quo ensures that nothing changes. It does not matter how abhorrent, unjust the law may be there is very little you can do. My complaint about a firm of solicitors has been referred by her to an MP in the Ministry of Justice whose family has shares in a claims company! I feel for MPs who do their best but the question remains, what do they actually achieve for us?

  33. Answer Sam – NOTHING

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