FCA's adviser directory faces fresh fire

FCA's adviser directory faces fresh fire

The Financial Conduct Authority's proposals for a new directory "fall short" of their aim to empower consumers, a group of Chartered bodies has warned.

The Chartered Body Alliance, which is made up of the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments and the Chartered Banker Institute, criticised the fact the regulator's new directory would not include professional affiliations.

Earlier this year the FCA published proposals for a new directory of individuals and firms to replace its existing register.

But the regulator has said the directory will not show whether an individual has membership of any professional body, achieved any professional standard or whether they hold a valid statement of professional standing with an accredited body.

Simon Culhane, chief executive of the CISI, said: "Details about professional body membership, and whether the individual is an SPS holder, is, in my view, materially relevant information.

"Being a member of a Chartered professional body is an achievement signifying an ongoing personal commitment to high levels of knowledge, skills and behaviour that go beyond the minimum standards required by regulators.

"I believe the public should be able to differentiate between those that have made such a personal commitment to higher standards, and that the new directory should highlight this."

Sian Fisher, chief executive of the CII, said: "We believe that predominantly the public interest lies in knowing that the directory person is authorised to do their role, and suitably qualified to do so.

"Both of these are important factors for consumers to evaluate when considering their options for the provision of financial services, who would have a clear indication about the adviser's ability to practise and also have a clear signpost to further information about the individual from the professional body itself – for example, information about further qualifications and specialisms on the professional body’s website."

The directory is being created to address the problem caused by the introduction of the senior managers regime, which was set to mean only senior managers will appear on the FCA's register.

The prospect of large numbers of people - including most financial advisers, portfolio managers and traders - no longer being visible on the register had prompted concerns about consumers being more exposed to financial scams.

When launched the directory will include information on all those who hold senior manager positions, which require FCA approval, and those whose roles require firms to certify that they are fit and proper, which do not.

It will include details of where they work, what roles they hold, what type of business they are qualified to do and whether there are any regulatory sanctions or prohibitions against them.

The creation of the directory is also aimed at meeting the recommendations of the Work & Pensions select committee, which highlighted flaws in the register during its inquiry into the British Steel Pension Scheme.

The consultation on the FCA's proposals for the register ended last week and the regulator is expecting to publish a policy statement before the end of the year.