Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA urges advisers to record client meetings

FCA urges advisers to record client meetings

The Financial Conduct Authority has urged advisers to consider recording client meetings to defend themselves against future complaints. 

The regulator said while recording client interactions was not a requirement under its rules, it had seen many firms who had invested in the process. 

Speaking at a conference in Harrogate, Debbie Gupta, director of life insurance and financial advice supervision at the FCA, said new and innovative technology meant recording client meetings was not a "prohibitively expensive option". 

She said: "Recordings provide the most robust evidence available for a firm to make its case in the event of a complaint.

"Even if you aren’t recording the meeting, your client’s voice should still come through the fact-find loud and clear. Consider using the client’s own language and phrase."

In 2017 the FCA U-turned on its plans to force advisers to tape their phone conversations with clients, a requirement which it originally considered including as part of its work to introduce Mifid II. 

The regulator has had a taping policy in place since 2009 which does not include advisers, but in preparing to introduce the incoming European rules it had proposed extending the requirement's reach. 

The move provoked controversy and the watchdog ultimately agreed the business model of many firms meant recording phone calls would "not always be appropriate" and instead allowing advisers to either tape all relevant conversations or take written notes. 

Ms Gupta said when the FCA looked at advice given to British Steel Pension Scheme members in 2017 the use of a client's own language was "very evident" in some cases.

She said: "The files where the client’s genuine feelings were recorded in their own words often resulted in better quality advice.

"This is because the adviser could understand and empathise with the client and tailor the advice to the individual client.

"Under challenge, or scrutiny, it helped explain the context in which the advice was given, and provided insight into what the client really wanted and needed."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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