Data submitted by advisers to the Financial Conduct Authority helps protect consumers, the regulator has said.
It has published a summary of why it collects information through the Retail Mediation Activities return and what it does with the information.
The publication comes after a number of firms at the FCA’s Live & Local events around the UK asked why it collects this data and what it is used for.
In the document published today (6 December) the FCA said: “Collecting data through the RMA data items is an important part of our supervisory approach because it helps us to reduce the risk of poor consumer outcomes in the retail investment market."
It stated it uses the data to assess firms’ compliance with threshold conditions and other requirements, for example its rules on adviser and consultancy charging, conduct of business and prudential requirements.
“In addition, the data allows us to spot trends in individual firms and in the market as a whole, identify the firms to which we should allocate supervisory attention, and better understand the activities undertaken by firms, and whether such activities pose any risks to consumers,” the regulator stated.
Advisers also asked the FCA why the information had to be submitted electronically through Gabriel.
In response, the FCA stated electronic reporting allows it to build in automatic verification checks against a number of criteria.
The FCA also listed a number of common errors advisers make in their RMA returns.
These include firms completing their profit and loss with information for the given reporting period only when it should be reported on a cumulative basis throughout the firm’s financial year, and some firms submitting the wrong data on the number of advisers qualified during a given period.
These firms entered the total number of advisers with the qualifications, rather than the number that had passed during that period.