Adviser to explore legal route over long-stop

Adviser to explore legal route over long-stop

Adviser Alan Lakey, who has repeatedly campaigned for a long-stop, has said he will meet with industry figures to find out whether the FCA’s decision not to introduce one can be challenged in the courts.

Hopes of limited liability for intermediaries were dashed as the Financial Advice Market Review final report did not recommend the introduction of a fixed 15-year long-stop.

Mr Lakey, partner at Hertfordshire-based Highclere Financial Services and former Apfa council member, said there would need to be widespread industry support for any legal action.

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“I don’t believe that the caucus of people out there who find the current situation intolerable will accept this decision.

“We would have to go through a process which has to start with a judicial review but it is a question of funding and how many people would be willing to go that extra mile.

“The first thing we have got to do is to have a consensus on the way forward because unless you get that nothing will happen,” he continued, adding that it also comes down to funding and a judicial review can be very expensive.

Mr Lakey said the adviser population has a habit of accepting what is thrown at them. “I can understand that, [but] if you take that attitude you have given in,” he said.

Two or three insurers have said they would provide some support to a legal challenge, Mr Lakey said, but he declined to say which ones.

He added he would be speaking to Garry Heath of Libertatem, Derek Bradley of Panacea Adviser and Phil Castle, a fellow member of Apfa’s long-stop working party, about the next steps.

Earlier this week, Apfa director general Chris Hannant said the FCA’s decision not to introduce a long-stop was “a missed opportunity”.

Mr Heath said: “You can challenge it through the courts but there is a very significant cost involved. Maybe IFAs could be convinced to put their hands in their pockets but I don’t know.

“But it is not the silver bullet people might think it is.”

According to the FAMR report, a long-stop could limit the protection available to consumers on long-term investment products.