Damian Fantato 

Will 2019 be a year of tears in the rain for advisers?

Damian Fantato

Damian Fantato

Welcome back to work and welcome to 2019.

Those film buffs among our readership will know 2019 was the year that Ridley Scott’s iconic Blade Runner was set in.

Unfortunately, the prospect of android replicants seems much further off than might have been expected in 1982 – and fashion seems slightly more prosaic than predicted – but that does not mean 2019 has to be uneventful.

For a start, this year will see the Financial Conduct Authority repeat its suitability review and look again at the outcomes of its Financial Advice Market Review.

These two alone have the ability to bring about huge change in the advice profession, without the continuing impact of Mifid II, which will mean advisers will have to send out cost breakdowns this year, and the looming prospect of the senior managers regime, which will come into effect in December.

The prospect of the FCA snooping around in your client files, looking for mistakes, will obviously not be a welcome one, but the watchdog’s previous work on this issue showed most advisers have little to worry about.

In its Assessing Suitability Review, published in May 2017, the regulator found 90 per cent of pensions accumulation advice and 91 per cent of retirement income advice was suitable – and ultimately, advisers should welcome the prospect of the regulator weeding out those who are slapdash with such a fundamental issue as suitability.

Perhaps the more perplexing question is whether the FCA will take the bull by the horns and follow up the FAMR with a decent set of proposals.

It is fair to say the outcome of the original report has been mixed – the regulator’s advice unit, established to help and encourage innovation in advice business models, has seen success, but other recommendations have flopped, such as the pension advice allowance, which has struggled for traction.

Hopefully, for advisers, 2019 will not be a moment lost in time, like tears in the rain.

damian.fantato@ft.com