Is new regulation going a step too far?

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

I saw three clients the week before last. Not that there is anything remarkable in that: sometimes I see more, sometimes less, but it dawned on me that I actually did more work for regulators than I did for my clients. And my clients pay me, the regulators do not.

I read recently that some advisers are demanding more pay for the regulatory overload, and I am not surprised. The recent added burden of the requirements of Mifid II and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has created work for everyone in our practice, not just for advisers, and there is already a full workload to deal with. 

Financial advisory practices seem to be bursting at the seams. Not a bad position to be in, but if you want to maintain the usual high standards something surely must give.

I used to think that regulation was a necessary evil, as how many more rogue advisers might there be if we did not have safeguards for the consumer. 

Now I feel, that we are just going a step too far, too quickly. Let us bed in one thing at a time, rather than sort myriad issues in one go.

Take the Legal Entity Identifier matter, for instance. Has anyone who decided that this was necessary actually tried to complete an application online? Asking our clients to accomplish this is one thing, but expecting them to complete it easily is another. 

I found it baffling in places, so made the decision to help our clients with the task and to facilitate payment. Then we discovered that every trustee had to sign a power of attorney, and all the trust deeds had to be uploaded, too.

To comply with the Mifid rules we have dedicated the task of calculating charges to one of our team. We detailed these in our suitability letters, and so far no one seems bothered about the amounts. It just makes me wonder if it is all that significant.

To top it all, like everyone else we are honing our privacy policy and following the steps to comply with GDPR, but it all takes more time than you anticipate – so who really does pay for all this compliance, the adviser or the client? 

Probably both.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth