Financial Conduct Authority  

Calls for FCA directory to detail professional standing

Calls for FCA directory to detail professional standing

The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and Chartered Banker Institute has criticised the Financial Conduct Authority’s decision to not require an individual to specify their level of professional membership in its new directory.

Last week the regulator published final plans for the design of its directory, created to address the problem caused by the introduction of the senior managers regime which meant only senior managers were set to appear on the FCA's register.

The FCA's original proposals faced criticism because the directory would not show if an individual had membership of any professional body, achieved any professional standard or whether they held a valid statement of professional standing with an accredited body.

But the regulator's final policy statement on the matter featured a compromise, with the FCA agreeing to highlight when an adviser has a connection to an accredited body and signpost where a potential client might find more information.

The City watchdog said it preferred not to include any further details than this directly on its register, to avoid confusion.

The CISI and Chartered Banker Institute have reported they are "delighted" the regulator has included a requirement for relevant individuals to list their professional affiliation on the directory.

However, a spokesman for the CISI said it was "disappointed" the FCA will not require an individual to specify their level of membership, stating this is a "good proxy" for the individual's level of standing and experience in the sector.

In its policy statement the regulator warned including more information on an individual's accreditation level would risk confusing consumers.

The FCA stated: "For example, accredited bodies do not currently use consistent language when describing comparable levels of accreditation (eg fellow, member, chartered, etc) making comparisons difficult for most consumers."

In a statement issued today (March 11) the CISI argued it disagreed with the FCA's argument there were too many variable levels of membership within the accredited bodies.

Simon Culhane, chief executive of the CISI, said: "If global airlines alliances such as 'One World' can agree common terminology amongst all their different membership levels, it should be quite possible for the FCA to facilitate a similar common standard from just six UK based bodies."

Mr Culhane said he expects consumers will be further assisted if they know the level of membership an individual holds.

He said: "We all recognise that a chartered fellow is likely to be more experienced and knowledgeable than a newly qualified junior member; with our alliance partners we are already showing that we can work together to agree common terminology and so I hope that in the next iteration, the FCA will enhance this encouraging beginning." 

Simon Thompson, chief executive of the Chartered Banker Institute, said: "Whilst we are delighted to see the importance of professional body membership reflected in the new directory, it has not diminished our resolve to see those individuals that have achieved higher levels of professional qualification recognised in the directory, as being essential to consumers and public confidence."