The Convention of Independent Financial Advisors Conference (Monaco, 22-24 April) was a lot bigger than I had been led to believe. CIFA is consulted on financial services matters by the UN worldwide. Its initial profile used to be limited to independent financial intermediaries, but now it is uniting consumer bodies and even smaller product providers.
The UN seems to have a real fear of globalisation. Not McDonalds, but an international political elite aligning governments to help huge companies maximise their share of the consumers’ purse. The economy requires a vigorous small business community creating new products and new jobs. The globalists want to create a crony capitalism which favours those who can fund big business at the cost of the smaller player.
Despite the small-business-supporting rhetoric we will hear from our political class in this election, the moment it is over the PPE boys will try and regulate everything that moves, supported by a media that demands regulation for everyone but itself.
Regulation always favours the big players. Firstly because big business can take the load and secondly because big business is where regulators get their next jobs. It is all over national and local government as well as bodies closer to home. We used to call it corruption – now it is called the system.
The direct costs of regulation have gone up 25-fold since 1997. The FCA employs 194 staff on a basic salary of more than £100,000. So given the prime minister earns £142,500; how many of the FCA’s staff earn more than the prime minister? 150?
The FCA tells us not to expect “a regulatory dividend”, but when does the amount and cost of regulation become not just an abuse of power but also inherently corrupt in its own right? How much regulation is too much?
Normally there would be checks and balances. If the regulator was truly accountable to parliament then we might have a course of action at the TSC. Similarly if the real consumer had a voice then there might be an alternative brake on costs.
But at the moment regulation has a blank chequebook, as does the FSCS, which is now paying out on unregulated products which were deliberately sold as outside the scheme.
It’s time to unite consumer bodies, fund managers and local producers to present a common voice against this abuse. If it is good enough for the UN, it must be good for us.
Let us stop being victims and start being proud of the fine job we do.
Garry Heath is editor of the Heath Report