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Apfa: ‘Fundamental mismatch’ between FCA and gov’t

Apfa: ‘Fundamental mismatch’ between FCA and gov’t

The Association of Professional Financial Advisers has set out its lobbying priorities for the next parliamentary year in an open letter to advisers.

It warned there is a “fundamental mismatch” between a government that says it wants advisers to step up to the plate and help consumers navigate increasingly complex personal finances, and regulatory bodies which are unable to control their budgets, “are seemingly unaccountable and continue to inundate advisers with ill thought-out, constantly changing regulation”.

Apfa wrote that there are “several areas” where government and the regulators must help, including pushing for a change to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies.

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In April the FSCS announced a rise in the final levy for the coming financial year, including a 300 per cent rise for pension intermediaries.

Life and pension advisers are to be hit with a levy of £100m in 2015/2016, up by 75 per cent from the compensation scheme’s January prediction of £57m and three times the £33m levy on the sector at the time of the annual levy last year.

FSCS said this was largely due to a continuing surge in self-invested pension claims. Overall the FSCS announced a final levy for the industry for 2015 to 2016 of £319m, a £32m increase from its January prediction of £287m.

Apfa is also seeking “better regulation” from the Financial Conduct Authority, intends to “challenge” the Financial Ombudsman Service on its decision-making, continue its campaign for a liability long-stop and place advice at the heart of the pension reforms.

Chris Hannant, Apfa director general, wrote: “Access to financial advice needs to be placed at the heart of government policymaking over the next parliament if people are to be able to plan for a stable financial future.

“This letter is the first of a series that Apfa will be producing to outline our achievements on specific campaigns as well as releasing details of our policy agenda.”

Apfa also detailed what it has recently achieved including a saving of £3m a year for advisers on the pensions guidance levy; no cap on adviser charges in EU Priips regulation; a saving of £3m a year in Money Advice Service fees for advisers; and an FCA review of the liability long-stop.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com