FCA praises independents for putting their customers first

The director of supervision at the FCA suggested it was “unfair” to compare how advisers have adjusted to customer outcomes-focused supervision with how retail banks have coped, branding the issue “controversial”.

He said: “It’s comparing apples and oranges. The banks have largely withdrawn from the provision of mass-market advice. So they’ve left that space open for independent advisers, and our view is they are generally doing a very good job.”

Last week, the FCA unveiled its customer outcomes-focused approach to supervision. Mr Adamson said firms must focus on how they run their businesses, ensuring the customer is at the heart of the transaction.

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He added: “Because their survival is essentially based around having the interests of customers at the heart of their business, generally speaking we feel the advisory community does this well.”

Alan Solomons, director of London-based Alpha Investments & Financial Planning, said: “It’s hard to do worse than what the big banks are doing. My feeling is that the banks view their customers as a source of income rather than people they’re trying to provide a good service to.

“One of the problems with big brands is there is an element of trust attached and there is the temptation to put costs up, maximising profits and reducing service. IFAs tend to be smaller and your good will is your client, so we have to put them first.”