OpinionNov 22 2013

Who cares if you’re restricted so long as you’re regulated?

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Kay Ingram, divisional director of individual savings and investments at national firm LEBC Group, told FTAdviser her perception from an Association of British Insurers meeting was that local authorities “seemed wary” of referring those that need long-term care to financial advisers “due to mis-selling scandals of the past”.

A reader commented on the article asking why there was no mention of Society of Later Life Advisers. He wrote that these advisers go through a “comprehensive and demanding assessment process to become a member of this elite group”.

He said: “I despair at the uneducated state of the people who make these crass decisions without researching the market. Sounds like they are simply tarring everyone with the same brush. The desperately needed advice for this sector of the population will it seems fall to Charities with no experience of the various solutions. SOLLA advisors are real specialists in everything associated with long term care. For many this is all they do.”

If councils are wary of referring clients to financial advisers, surely this supports the argument that the care bill must ensure that authorities can only refer clients to regulated advisers, rather than any Tom, Dick and Harry. This will ensure the advice given is relevant and appropriate.

Back to fees

Also this week, FTAdviser sister publication Investment Adviser revealed investment advisers are likely to face a bill of close to £30m in the first quarter of 2014 after the FSCS announced a shortfall of £29.5m in the investment intermediary sub-sector.

The shortfall comes after the compensation scheme last month began compensating clients of Catalyst Investment Group, which sold more than £50m worth of bonds backed by the collapsed ARM Asset Backed Securities life settlements fund.

This raised angry comments from advisers who, quite rightly, are upset they are continually paying for other firms’ failures.

IFA David Barnett’s comment on the story said: “It does beg the question, why can’t the FCA do something about these companies before things go wrong. I thought that was the prime purpose of all these regulations.”

And he is completely right. There must be a better way than firms being hit with a massive bill that they cannot budget for; perhaps a monthly fee or perhaps those firms that sell unregulated or ‘high risk’ products should pay more. Answers on a postcard please.

Also this week the unbundled/bundled debate rages on. My colleague Michael Trudeau wrote an excellent blog on Standard Life fighting over criticisms levelled against it regarding its bundled-to-unbundled conversions as the firm continues its push to move over to an entirely clean fee model.