CompaniesOct 16 2012

Aifa demands ‘clearer’ measures of FCA success

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The Association of IFAs has hit out at the objectives that have been set for the incoming financial services conduct regulator, arguing that the measures are not clear and transparent and that it will therefore be difficult to assess the performance of the new regulator.

Responding to the publication by the Financial Services Authority today (16 October) of the approach document for its successor body, Aifa policy director Chris Hannant said that the objectives set for the body throughout the paper are too “subjective”.

In the paper the FSA states that the Financial Conduct Authority will be tasked with making relevant markets work well and helping firms get back to putting their customers at the heart of how they do business by promoting effective competition.

It also outlines the powers and remit of the new body, emphasising that it will look to take a more active approach to wholesale investment markets and a more interventionist approach to financial products and marketing literature.

However, Mr Hannant said that the industry needed specific and measurable objectives relating to boosting saving or increasing projections as the current targets were too ethereal. He added that this was key to ensuring that the FCA was more accountable than the current regulator,

He said: “The introduction of a new regulator offers an opportunity to set out clear criteria that we can use to measure its performance. Regulatory authorities have previously had far too little public accountability for their actions.

“We would like to see clear and transparent outcomes set for the FCA that it can be judged on. At present the proposed criteria are far too subjective.

“The role of the regulator should be to foster a successful financial services sector and encourage consumers to take positive decisions about their finances. We need clear and measurable objectives, such as the levels of savings and protection consumers have.

“The regulator has made clear it will take a more interventionist approach. A key measure of the success of this approach will be a reduction in compensation claims and overall levels of compensation. The regulator should be accountable for delivering on this objective.”