Regulation  

Apfa council member slams ‘unusable’ FCA invoice system

Apfa council member slams ‘unusable’ FCA invoice system

A council member of the Association of Professional Financial Advisers has written to the Financial Conduct Authority to complain over its invoicing system which he branded “stupid” and “unusable”, after he was unable to pay his latest interim compensation scheme levy.

Last week, FTAdviser revealed that advisers had started receiving their invoices for an interim Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy totalling £20m to cover a surge in self-invested complaints.

If payment is not made by the due date, advisers incur a further £250 charge plus interest at 5 per cent above the Bank of England’s repo rate from the original due date. .

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However, two advisers who spoke to FTAdviser have complained they were unable to even download the invoice which has provented them from paying through the system.

Neil Liversidge, Association of Professional Financial Advisers council member and managing director of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, has written to the FCA attaching a cheque for the fees and complaining about the problems he has encountered.

In the letter he says he could not print off the invoice “because your online fees system is still as useless as it was the first time I used it”. He adds he does not want financial compensation for the time wasted but just for the regulator to “get its act together and stop wasting my time with stupid, unusable systems”.

He continues: “No normal entity on this planet needs to provide its customers with a 15-page guide on how to use its invoicing system. If we did it we’d never get paid by our clients and we’d go bust. Your system only works because its demands for money are accompanied by threats.”

The regulator wrote back, stating it was looking at the issues raised.

Another adviser, who declined to be named, said: “What gets me is the sheer arrogance of the footnote to the email telling me to go and download the undownloadable invoice.

“I can live with this if they can conduct themselves professionally, but it really sticks in the throat to be warned in such terms for non-payment of an invoice they cannot actually deliver and will not respond to email enquiries about.”

In his letter Mr Liversidge states he checked with other advisers as to whether they could get invoices off the system and that none could, but that no one was willing to be quoted because of a “general perception” that anyone who complains about the FCA will be “vindictively targeted by it”.

He adds: “This extends throughout the adviser community, including past and present colleagues who sit with me on the Apfa council. Such is the atmosphere of oppression and the perception of itself that the FCA and its predecessor organisations has created in the adviser community.”

A FCA spokesperson said: “We have had one complaint but we are not aware of any serious problems.”

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com