Opinion  

UK regulation's direction of travel gives reason to be cheerful

Ben Goss

Ben Goss

The regulator found that asset managers relied heavily on distributors to give them information about how products were being advised and sold, and concluded that managers "could do more to challenge their distributors for this information".

The goal is a more collaborative relationship between manager and adviser that better serves the interests of clients – again, this seems a positive indication for the future direction of regulation.

Fintech and green finance

Beyond regulation, I was also encouraged by two other pillars of the Mansion House speech. The first was the emphasis on fintech. The chancellor set out a commitment to promote the adoption of cutting-edge technologies by taking forward recommendations from the Kalifa review – notably, the proposal to make the regulatory sandbox pioneered by the FCA in 2016 permanent.

Our own experience of working with a client through the early sandbox was positive. In the highly regulated investment advice space, access to early regulatory guidance was invaluable.

However, the project ended when it became clear that strict interpretation of one particular Mifid II requirement meant the proposition, designed to help businesses deliver advice to lower value clients, would not fly. In a potentially more flexible post-Brexit regulatory regime, though, the scope for innovation is surely greater.

Finally, the goal of leading the world in green finance is a welcome one. The government’s plan to work with the FCA on a sustainable investment label is yet to be fleshed out, and it is unclear what similarities and differences the UK approach will have with the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation.

However, for advisers, it is clear that it is worth getting to grips with what is still a relatively new approach to many, but is a real opportunity to bring client investments alive, give them purpose and demonstrate value.

Overall then, whether you are staying at home this summer or making the most of the easing of restrictions to head overseas, the direction of travel feels positive.

Ben Goss is chief executive of Dynamic Planner