Regulation  

Apfa: FCA must publish ‘hard’ measures asap

Following the closure on Friday 27 September of the FCA’s consultation on advancing its objectives, a four-page response from Apfa called for the FCA to set out its “business objectives, targets and key performance indicators” so its regulatory impact on consumers and firms could be measured more accurately.

The response said: “[The FCA] needs to include hard measures that focus on outcomes rather than outputs, including a set of measures that demonstrate the longer-term impact of regulation on consumer and firm behaviour.”

Advocating a lighter-touch regulatory approach, the response also said that the FCA should “make it easier for advisers to do business and to look after their clients”, and that a healthy quota of advisers in the UK is “good” for clients.

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It welcomed the FCA’s intention to focus more on products and to stage an intervention much earlier to prevent consumer detriment.

However, when commenting on the Arch Cru and Keydata scandals, the response said that product providers, not advisers, should be held completely responsible, as they are in EU regulation for packaged retail investment products, for marketing material issued to clients.

The response also said that the FCA should also revise its handbook so that paperwork surrounding transactions is “proportionate”, or customers could be dissuaded from lengthy transactions.

It added that the City watchdog should revise regulatory costs, which are increasingly a “burden” for advisory firms, as well as reconsider its controversial long-stop policy, which risks creating a “barrier to entry” for the profession.

ADVISER VIEW

Christopher Wicks, director of Greater Manchester Bridgewater Financial Services, said: “I get the feeling that the FCA is adopting a more pragmatic approach, particularly with regards to regulatory fees, and it is aware that putting smaller IFAs out of business would not help its agenda of increasing competition in the market. After all, advisers are not the main culprits in all the main misdemeanours of the past decade.”