RegulationMay 8 2013

FCA urged to stem small firms’ RDR frustrations

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ByKevin White

The chairman of the FCA Practitioner Panel – which is made up of representatives from financial services providers – was responding to findings of the panel’s survey of the industry, which revealed that just 42 per cent of non-relationship managed firms understood the FCA’s objectives, compared to 84 per cent of relationship-managed firms.

The poll of 1470 firms also showed that 57 per cent of non-relationship managed firms are looking to the media for information about the FCA, with 45 per cent relying on the regulator’s official website.

Mr Beale said: “It is understandable that the regulatory focus for communications about the FCA was initially on larger firms, as these have a greater reach and impact on the market. However, the survey shows there is also mounting frustration amongst smaller firms about the impact of regulation, and particularly amongst smaller firms affected by the retail distribution review.”

He proposed that the FCA must do more to strengthen engagement and communication with smaller firms, adding that the FCA website was already “much clearer” than that of its predecessor, the FSA. He said: “We are hopeful that more progress can be made by the FCA on communications.”

The 33-page survey results also revealed that 49 per cent of smaller firms were confident that the FCA will deliver on its statutory requirements towards consumers, compared to 70 per cent of relationship-managed firms.

Adviser view

Philip Stevenson, director of Manchester-based Ark Financial Planning, said: “Every year, we have to submit a review of the business for regulatory purposes online – it takes a lot of time, and we’re not sure what the point of it is. We don’t get feedback, not that we think that’s necessary because we know what the business should be like. But it’s very frustrating all the same.”