Regulation  

FSA forced to clarify RDR system

It comes as chartered financial planners Chris Dunston and Kim Barrett have faced difficulty submitting their RDR qualifications data after the FSA began accepting submissions on 7 January.

Their difficulties were compounded after the regulator sent a reminder to 6000 firms which listed the wrong business details.

Mr Dunston, chartered financial planner for Exeter-based Artavia PFS, said he was first sent a reminder for another firm, which he passed on. But when he tried to submit his form anyway, he could not get a flag on the document to turn from red to green, which the FSA required.

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He said: “I submitted the return anyway, and received a reply that it had been received by the FSA. After this, I received another return request from the FSA, this time addressed to the correct company, and again I went on the website to complete.

“I spoke to the customer contact centre and corrected the red-to-green issue.

“In effect, I was entering an activity start date when I should not have been doing so. But there was no guidance from the FSA on how to complete the form in the first place.”

Mr Barrett, managing director of Hertfordshire-based Barretts Financial Solutions, said there was no point of contact at the FSA other than an email address for advisers needing help.

He said he submitted his form on 7 January and got a confirmation, but then received a reminder with the wrong firm name attached on 9 January.

On 11 January he received another email containing the correct company details and apologising for the error.

He said: “I responded to the FSA email to ask if this meant my submission had been received. But I got a bounceback to say the inbox is not monitored. This whole thing has been clumsy and is not very user-friendly.”

A spokesman for the City watchdog said the regulator had sent a reminder about submitting RDR professional standards data to 6000 firms, but, due to a system error, the wrong firm and address appeared in some messages.

Asked what would happen if a similar issue occurred at an advisory firm, she said: “If there were similar system errors with regulated firms we would look at the cause and deal with them.”

What the FSA wants advisers to know

“You must send us professional standards data for each of your retail investment advisers. You must submit your first ‘return’ with data as at 31 December 2012 for all retail investment advisers at your firm. The last date for submitting the first return is 29 January 2013.

“After the first return, you must submit a return as at the end of each subsequent quarter, unless there have been no changes to the data you previously submitted. You must send us this within 20 business days of the end of the quarter. If there are no changes you do not need to send a return.”

“After the first return, you must submit a return as at the end of each subsequent quarter, unless there have been no changes to the data you previously submitted. You must send us this within 20 business days of the end of the quarter. If there are no changes you do not need to send a return.”