Regulation  

Advisers offered pick and choose service to respond to 'serious' FCA paper

Advisers offered pick and choose service to respond to 'serious' FCA paper
 Photo: Lalesh Aldarwish via Pexels

Advisers who have not had the chance to respond to the Financial Conduct Authority's call for input on the consumer investment market are being urged to contact PanaceaAdviser.

Derek Bradley, chief executive of the advisory forum, has invited advisers - even if they are not members of PanaceaAdviser - to send in their responses to any of the questions within the 34-page consultation paper. 

He said the consultation was discussing issues of vital importance to the advice market, but said the length of the document, and the sheer amount of questions within it, has proved too daunting for many advice firms - especially the smaller businesses.

Mr Bradley said the way in which some of these documents are set up are not "inclusive" and designed to have "obstacles", with regulatory consultation papers often running to page after page of "mind-numbing content".

As a result, he said the advice businesses for whom a change in regulation would be most beneficial, often do not have the time or the resource to read, assess, and respond to every question in these documents.

This is why PanaceaAdviser is offering to collate responses from all advisers - even if they are only able to respond to one or two questions - and send the anonymised responses into the FCA ahead of the December deadline.

He commented: "In the advisory world and beyond there is much well-founded cynicism regarding input to consultations. This is based upon experience (think 'Retail Distribution Review') whereby the outcome seems to have already been decided by the FCA, but it needs to tick that box called ‘inclusivity’, thus the document runs to so many pages.

"[Former senior member of the FCA] Rory Percival told me last year that the responses to consultation papers are, amazingly, only around 100 or so for those of great significance, but I imagine the figure is much lower for many others, so we can assume a much lower overall average."

According to the regulator, there are approximately 5,000 advice companies in the UK, employing more than  27,000 advisers (22,000 of whom Mr Bradley said were in the Panacea community) who are not responding to these papers "in the volumes they should", Mr Bradley opined.

The FCA's Call For Input, launched earlier this year, is designed to work towards building a new regulatory framework that works better for consumers and prevents more investment claims ending up at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

At the time, the FCA said: "While much of the consumer investment market meets the goals of retail investors, there are some areas where we think it is not working as well as it should and where change is needed.

"Regulating this market will need to balance a consumer’s freedom to choose with the need to protect consumers from harm, and to foster the innovation and competition that new entrants bring with the need to stop 'bad actors' thriving.