On the professionalism front, there is still scope for a PSB or single professional body which licenses and regulates individuals, leaving the FSA to concentrate on firms. This would challenge the industry to make its own creative input to standards on a much wider front than exams and ethical codes.
John Ellis, former PFS head of public affairs
The new definition of independence and raising the professional standards that will come out of the RDR are the only two positive points.
It is about time that the so-called financial advisers at the banks were given another title, anything but adviser because advisers they are most definitely not. My major concern is the earning potential for all independent advisers and whether this will force thousands to leave the industry thus creating the total opposite effect than what is needed.
Clients are happy for me to take commission and where possible rebate commission to enhance investment.
Fees, whether from the product, ie, factory gate products (where it is taken from the investment amount) or direct from the client and no commission payable will upset a lot of clients. What planet are the FSA from if they think altering how we get paid will guarantee perfect advice?
I would also like to know how memory tests, which exams are, make me a more competent adviser? Please let me meet those in the FSA to enable me to explain how things work in the real world.
Steven Phillips DGS IFA
The bureaucrats always think they know best. The Socialists and Communists tried their “Command and Control” ideas and ruined the economies of many nations in the process. What makes the FSA think it knows better?
At best, they may put in place rules and regulations that address certain specific problems the FSA thinks it has identified. These rules/regs may initially appear reasonable but within months the FSA will come back for another bite. They will see the need to strengthen or fine-tune these and they will gradually become deeply entrenched, rigid and fixed. This will gradually squeeze the UK finance sector, making it much more bureaucratic and more and more like the uncompetitive European finance sectors.
Confidence can, if it is there over long periods, support markets, but as we have already seen, when confidence is lost, it can break markets overnight.
Like the politicians and their expenses, the FSA tells us that it gets it but, like the politicians, we have yet to have the measures/ solutions spelt out properly and then we will need to be convinced.
Jim Payne, JPA Mortgages
On the arrests of a number of IFAs and Sipp operators on the grounds of suspected fraud
The FSA review of small Sipp providers may be entirely unconnected with the suspected fraud case but the combined effect is to give an unfavourable impression.
The suspected fraud is probably a one-off and fraud can occur in all areas of financial services, so it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that there is something fundamentally wrong with Sipps.
The FSA are right to look at the smaller Sipp providers, though, not because the people running them are any less reputable than the bigger players but simply because, through lack of experience, some may be unaware of all that regulation entails.
The right sort of enquiries from the FSA will weed out areas where things are not being done to the right standard and this can only be good for the industry. It may also lead to a contraction in the number of providers, if some of the smaller ones realise extra work is needed and it is just not worth it.
Rupert Curtis, MD, Curtis Banks plc