Emma Ann Hughes  

FCA took too long to recognise problems with register

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

Financial advisers have been arguing for ages for an FCA U-turn on their decision to water down the register.

As part of the senior manager regime, only top bosses were set to appear on the register with most financial advisers, portfolio managers, traders and non-executive directors to disappear from its pages.

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The FCA stated: "The FCA has listened to this feedback and will consult by summer 2018 on policy proposals to address this feedback."

Why didn’t it listen to feedback sooner? Advisers have been complaining about the register via FTAdviser for years.

Heck, back in 2016 I argued the FCA needed to admit the shortcomings of the financial services register and act to address these problems after the watchdog came under fire from the complaints commissioner for the way it listed a former Sesame adviser.

Call me cynical but it seems to me it took MPs angrily gnashing their teeth after British Steel pension scheme members claimed they struggled to find an adviser using the FCA register for the watchdog to decide their approach to this vital document may not be the right one.

The FCA register must be a vital document – anything less just won’t do.

It should assist members of the public with checking if Joe Bloggs offering them a chicken and chips supper plus a chat about ditching their defined benefit pension scheme are qualified to assess their situation or if they are just chasing quick cash.

One of our adviser readers noted you can tell a lot about an adviser by the firms they have worked for and how long they have been in the industry.

The adviser added a decent register is also useful for recruitment as well as consumers.

Ultimately if the FCA kept a decent register it would assist consumers with finding an adviser, advisers with checking on the quality of people looking to join their organisations and the regulator itself.

Adviser Neil Liversidge beautifully summed up the benefit of getting this right to the watchdog.

He said: “There's a certain type of adviser who always seeks out the firms with the loosest compliance and the register is a great way to spot them fast.

“Considering the money we pay, the FCA does little for us that is of any use or that helps us in our daily work, but the register as it currently stands is an exception.

“If they do intend to take away the one thing we really value then they might as well just paint their contempt for advisers' opinions on the side of their nice new offices with a six-inch brush.”