FCA eyes charging for paper invoices

FCA eyes charging for paper invoices

Financial advisers may be required to receive fee invoices from the Financial Conduct Authority online, under proposals from the regulator.

From 2019 the regulator has said advisers would have to pay if they want to continue receiving paper invoices.

In a consultation paper published this morning, the FCA said: “Online invoicing is an environmentally friendly paperless process which significantly enhances the efficiency of our fee invoicing and collection process by eliminating paper.

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“The number of fee-payers has more than doubled since we took over responsibility for regulating consumer credit in 2014, and the web-based invoicing application has enabled us to invoice the 30,000 new fee-payers and absorb the increased cashiering work without a proportionate increase in resources and costs.”

The FCA said 85 per cent of its authorised firms are registered and using online invoicing, leaving 8,000 still receiving paper invoices.

It has estimated that firms wanting to continue receiving a paper invoice would have to pay between £50 and £100 a year to do so.

The FCA added: “The charge is likely to increase in the future as the number of firms receiving paper invoices declines and any economies of scale are eroded.”

The same consultation paper also included proposals to add new categories to the FCA’s rebate scheme for fines.

When the FCA fines a firm, the money is sent to HM Treasury but some is retained by the regulator and rebated to firms in certain fee-blocks.

After a review, the FCA has decided to update the scheme and add new fee-blocks for new types of firms.

These include firms under the recognised auction platforms regulations 2011, firms under the mortgage credit directive order 2015 and firms under the data reporting regulations 2017.

The FCA has also proposed amending the way the Money Advice Service is funded by firms which provide secured and unsecured lending.

Mas is funded through two levies, the money advice levy which is funded by advisers and the debt advice levy which is paid for by firms in the lending sector.

Under the FCA’s proposals half of the debt advice levy will be paid for by a new category of consumer credit lenders and the other half by home finance providers and administrators.

It follows the FCA taking control of the regulation of the consumer credit industry in 2014.