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IFAs need to unite over FSCS funding

Don’t give up on the FSCS levy consultation - advisers can ill afford for lobby groups to miss this opportunity.

By Nick Reeve | Published Sep 03, 2012 | comments

The financial advice sector needs a strong, unifying voice now more than ever.

It is clear from Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) chief executive Mark Neale’s comments to Investment Adviser last week that the door is very much still open for an alternative solution to the scheme’s funding model to be put forward.

It is time now for IFA trade body Aifa and its fellow trade bodies and adviser groups, including Gill Cardy’s IFA Centre and PanaceaIFA, to back the product levy and make the best possible case for it in the FSA’s consultation.

This means not just lumping the burden on product providers - the ‘product’ of advice must be subject to a set, predictable levy too. The FSA should not be allowed to experiment as it has done with the last decade’s major failures, so the case must be as watertight as possible.

In the case of Keydata, many advisers who sold the products feel stranded while being chased for compensation by the FSCS, while others who did not are rightly angry at being out of pocket to the tune of millions of pounds.

A highly questionable consumer redress scheme has also been introduced for the failed Arch Cru fund range, backed by controversial data which has been disputed by almost everyone involved.

But this current consultation does not concern the sales of one product range by a group of advisers - it concerns every single one of you, and your voice needs to be heard.

Not everyone may agree with the concept of charging an insurance premium at the point of sale, particularly if it includes an extra explicit charge on top of advice costs, which it surely must if it is to pass muster with the FSA.

However, we must not see another fragmented, conflicted response to a consultation. This is a once in a generation opportunity to take action against the rising cost of regulation which has been pushing advisers to the edge and beyond for so long.

Advisers cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

Nick Reeve is senior reporter at Investment Adviser

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