FCA demands ‘mountains of detail’ in disclosure tool

Jeremy Edwards, IFA at Leicester-based Bankfield Financial Advisers, said while he had “no problem” with the FCA’s disclosure tool he felt it did “not help the client very much, as generally clients want solutions to perceived problems rather than mountains of detail.”

Earlier this month, the FCA published the disclosure tool to help advisers disclose their charges compliantly after its second thematic review into post-RDR implementation found that 73 per cent of firms failed to meet its required standards.

The file review template includes statements on an adviser’s generic charging structure, the specific charges an individual client would be expected to pay, disclosure of service including what restrictions are in place, and disclosure of ongoing service.

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Mr Edwards said: “To condemn it with faint praise, it is no worse than the other FCA guidance and it concentrates on the area of initial disclosure which should aid comprehension.

“For advisers, meeting the FCA’s requirements is hard as most do not think in the detail necessary to build up a bill of quantities.”

Rob Terry, financial planner at Derbyshire-based High Edge Financial Planning, added: “This tool will be useful for advisers although it is probably a bit long.”

An FCA spokesman said: “It is difficult to see how a clear explanation of charges and services can be anything but helpful to clients.

“The disclosure requirements are not new and we’ve provided materials to help firms get it right.”

Adviser view

Robyn Lovatt, director of Norwich-based Harrold Financial Planning, said: “I have downloaded the template and don’t think there was anything confusing in it. I had already tweaked our fee agreements so I guess you could say we were in the 73 per cent, but largely we were okay.”