Retail Distribution Review  

FCA hints at flexibility on review deadline

FCA hints at flexibility on review deadline

The Financial Conduct Authority has said it is open to discussion over the deadline for providing feedback to its advice market review.

This morning (May 1) the FCA published 24 questions to which it asked for industry feedback as a means to aid its review of the Retail Distribution Review and Financial Advice Market Review. 

As well as calling for input on the role of its regulation in the market, the City-watchdog asked if any barriers to effective competition existed in the advice market and what barriers might be preventing advice and guidance services becoming more affordable. 

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The FCA gave a deadline of June 3 for initial feedback, with a view to publishing its final report in 2020. 

But advisers were quick to point out they were being offered a mere 33 days inclusive of weekends and bank holidays to respond, which was not enough time for the issues raised by the review to be addressed. 

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said he is concerned the deadline does not offer scope to do the FCA's questions justice. 

He said: "We are quite excited about what the regulator is doing here. We thought RDR was perhaps at times painful but a really necessary cleansing process for the industry and what came out the other side was a more professional and credible industry.

"But we have always felt there is a lot of unfinished business with both the RDR and FAMR there remains a big advice gap and the provision of guidance has not really filled that gap."

Mr McPhail said there are also increasing overlaps in the market which need to be addressed, such as the place of the recently launched Money and Pensions Service in the industry and its provision of guidance. 

He said: "Giving us a month to address these problems won't really do it justice and a well synchronised advice landscape won't be achieved if rushed. 

"I see no reason why this should be rushed, is it not so critically time sensitive that the FCA couldn't offer say two months for feedback. 

"I imagine the immediate response from the industry will be it loves that the FCA is asking these questions, but why not give us eight weeks to respond rather than four." 

Kay Ingram, director of public policy at LEBC, said the deadline does seem particularly short and risks meaning many advisers will not have time to respond to the regulator's questions. 

She said: "It is a little bit short and I was shocked, I do a lot of these consultations in my role as public policy director and normally two to three months are offered depending on the subject matter and depth of it.

"This is a fairly sweeping strategic review of a sector and it might be ideal to give advisers a bit more time bearing in mind many advisers are not responding to consultations on a full time basis and most smaller firms have other roles to fulfil."