Exhaustion claims FCA panel member who fought for IFAs

A member of the FCA’s smaller business practitioner panel (SBPP) has resigned from his position after spending so much time fighting the regulator his business suffered, he has claimed.

Panel member Richard Carne, said he was standing down from the panel, due to frustration at the FCA’s lack of engagement with the group, which was set up as a requirement of the Financial Services Act 2012, to provide the perspective of smaller regulated firms to the FCA.

Mr Carne, director of Hampshire-based Asset Management IFA Ltd, said he had spent so much time “trying to fight” the FCA in his capacity as a panel member, and as a council member of the Association of Professional Financial Advisers, that he was exhausted.

In confirming his departure from the SBPP after three years, and from Apfa after 10 years to concentrate on running his firm, he warned that the FCA was “happy with the status quo” and not willing to change.

He said his main aim had been to make the FCA “accountable in terms of the effects of its regulation on the nation’s savings, protection and pension investment habits”, and if regulatory rules were to the detriment of these ideals “they should be scrapped”.

However, Mr Carne conceded that he did not have the “political clout” to press his viewpoint, saying: “Who would take on such accountability willingly if they could get away with not doing so?”

In a parting shot at the FCA, he added that he had achieved so little in his three years on the SBPP that it “was not a good use of my time”, despite trying to “fight the corner of the beleaguered IFA”, but bemoaned the fact that regulation had succeeded in turning the advisory community into a “sheer bloody grind”, despite the increased consumer need for advice.

Clinton Askew, director of Surrey-based Citywide Financial Partners, and a member of the SBPP, said: “Mr Carne’s departure is an unfortunate loss for the panel.

“He was representative of a large part of the advisory community and an advocate of independent advice. The panel’s contribution to the advisory community is substantial, but not often seen. It’s not a body that makes a lot of public pronouncements, but it is effective at holding the FCA to account.”

Apfa declined an invitation to comment.

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An FCA spokesman said all panel members were appointed on initial three-year terms, with the views of the panels making “an important contribution to the internal debates of the FCA”.