Regulation  

Devil in the detail as FCA, Apfa meet over long-stop

The Association of Professional Financial Advisers is meeting with the FCA to discuss the possible shape that the regulator’s proposed long-stop might take.

Chris Hannant, director general of Apfa, said the City watchdog and the advisory association were starting up “initial conversations” to help thrash out what the regulator intended by its recent announcement that it would consider a long-stop for financial services.

Mr Hannant said: “We are going in to see the FCA but we do not yet know what is the regulator’s current thinking or timetable. I am hopeful from what we have discussed already that they are approaching this in a constructive way.”

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Apfa, which has been campaigning for a limit on the liability period on advice for financial products, has received significant support from the industry for the campaign, including from providers such as Zurich.

Last year, Mr Hannant had believed the FCA could only consider a long-stop across the entirety of the industry, and would have to impose this on banks and insurers as well as advisers, which might not be in the consumers’ best interests.

However, he said: “I think I might be wrong on this now. Looking at the FCA’s Business Plan, it very much frames it in the context of the IFA sector. It is just speculation at this stage but if the FCA is thinking along these lines, it must recognise the effect of unlimited liability on sole traders and individuals within partnerships.”

Background

In its 49-page Business Plan for 2014/15, published in March this year, the FCA said it would re-examine the case for a time limit on complaints made to the Financial Ombudsman Service about advisers.

It said: “We will consider the case for a 15-year time limit on complaints to Fos to review whether the current arrangements are delivering the best outcomes for consumers overall.”