FCA non-committal on new advice market study

FCA non-committal on new advice market study

The Financial Conduct Authority has said it is keen to examine the investment value chain "as a whole" but wavered on whether this means it will carry out another adviser market study.

Speaking after the FCA's annual public meeting today (11 September), Christopher Woolard said the regulator has already been looking into the advice market on a number of occasions, most recently with the Financial Advice Market Review, but he pointed out this work had not addressed the issue of competition.

The FCA recently carried out studies into the asset management and platform markets, and has recommended a series of reforms to make sure they are competitive and investors are getting value for money.

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There has been speculation that a market study into the financial advice market was ultimately in the pipeline, since this would be the only element of the investment value chain the FCA would not have looked at once the platform market study is complete.

This is also because the rules introduced under Mifid II - particularly the product governance regime - give the FCA more powers to act around issues such as value for money.

When asked whether a study into the advice market was next, the FCA's director of strategy and competition said the regulator was currently focusing on areas of the market which, unlike the advice market, had not had "a lot of attention".

Mr Woolard said: "The task in front of us is to get through the investment platforms work rather than speculating about whether we need to go further at this stage.

"In terms of competition, we want to try and take a view of where we see the most potential harm, but the fact we have been looking along this value chain shouldn't be taken to mean the final piece is next in some way."

In July the FCA published the interim report of the regulator's platform market study which decried the fact advisers often leave existing investments on more expensive platforms because switching providers could take up to 15 hours of an advice firm's time.

Addressing the topic of recent platform technology issues, such as the struggles faced by Aegon and Aviva after replatforming, Mr Woolard said this would not be covered by the platform study because this pointed to a "wider question" of whether there was an "over-reliance" at firms on one particular type of software or one particular provider.