James Coney  

A roadmap for cutting FSCS costs and restoring industry confidence

James Coney

James Coney

In the doomsday scenario, that would be gone and money will be channelled into a handful of products run by those giant vertically integrated businesses.

Perhaps it would also be wise to welcome greater accountability from company directors and authorised advisers – allowing customers to see details of mis-selling complaints and striking off those who have already walked away from one failed company.

This would instil greater confidence in the industry.

In principle shouldering the burden across a sector is fine, but in practice it places a burden on good businesses that cannot afford the extra costs.

Nowhere else does this model exist. It is like asking every cafe in the country to pay the costs when Patisserie Valerie went bust. We need to take the discussion over the levy forward and focus on what the future may hold for the entire industry.

Margins are slim enough already across many companies, and the volatile nature of the FSCS levy makes it impossible to plan for.

But to begin with, the City watchdog needs to sit up and listen and realise what the future holds.

If it really does believe all households should have access to advice, then it needs to rethink the FSCS levy, and do so today. 

Phoney funds

A moment of clarity while I was cycling to work the other day: if there were proper accountability in investing there would be no need for environmental, social and governance funds.

If fund managers and tracker funds properly engaged with annual meetings and interacted with the savers whose money they were investing, then consumers would be able to properly set out their concerns and companies would act (or not) on it.

It is the lack of accountability that allows the lunacy of ESG funds and their phoney targets to persist.

End ACD roles

One of the reasons we should be thankful for the Woodford scandal is that it highlighted the role of authorised corporate directors across the industry.

These are the real power behind fund managers, but they sit almost unaccountable and anonymously – happily taking fees for doing (it seems) very little.

And when they do get criticism, they do not seem to be able to understand why.

Time for this iniquitous relationship to end.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times