Your IndustryNov 25 2015

Apfa demands Fos decisions be reviewed by judges

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Apfa demands Fos decisions be reviewed by judges

The Association of Professional Financial Advisers’ chairman took aim at the Financial Conduct Authority and Financial Ombudsman Service for their unfair treatment of the advice industry.

Speaking at last night’s (24 November) Apfa annual dinner, John Gummer, Lord Deben, told guests the association had a short list of demands that formed an “absolute basis to go forward sensibly as a profession”.

Focusing first on the regulatory and Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies, he said year-on-year increases were “unacceptable” at a time of falling inflation.

“You cannot run a system on that basis, we have to have that change and we are determined to have that change. I have to say to those that have responsibility here that this is an industry that I have never known to be as angry as it is about the facts of regulation.”

He added that while this is a government he supports, it is also one that has been de-regulatory everywhere else but the financial industry.

Mr Gummer commented that he had never known the industry to be as angry as it is at the moment, moving on to a long-running Apfa campaigning point around unrestricted liabilities.

“We won’t get money into this industry unless we do something about the long stop,” he said, echoing director general Chris Hannant’s earlier points that Apfa has seen progress in pushing its case forward with the FCA.

“Every other industry sees deregulation, but what about us?” he told an audience featuring acting FCA chief executive Tracey McDermott and chairman John Griffith-Jones.

“There is a build up of requirements and it comes down to the key issue of fairness, you can’t obey the law of it changes all the time.”

With this comment, Mr Gummer moved on to his issues with the Fos, an organisation which he stated simply does not obey the rule of law.

He argued changes have to be made to the way ombudsmen operate, pointing out the need for advisers to be able to appeal cases to a judge.

Earlier this year, Apfa announced it was conducting research and compiling a database examining recent Fos decisions on adviser cases, looking for ‘systemic problems’.

“This is a short list of demands, but an absolute basis for us to go forward sensibly as a profession. Advisers need less cost, no competition between regulators and an ability to do the right thing now knowing they won’t be punished later.”

His firebrand performance at the lectern threatened to overshadow guest speaker and economic secretary to the Treasury Harriet Baldwin, who had hot-footed it over from Whitehall.