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Consultation responses to FCA halve over decade

Consultation responses to FCA halve over decade

The number of responses to consultations carried out by the regulator has more than halved over the past decade.

According to a Freedom of Information request, an average a consultation in 2005 received 66.5 responses while one in 2015 only received 25.5.

In 2005 the Financial Services Authority issued 15 consultation papers which received 998 responses in total.

Meanwhile in 2015 that regulator’s successor, the Financial Conduct Authority, issued 43 consultations.

In total, these consultations all received 1,098 responses.

Neither of these figures include consultation responses which the respondent said they wanted to be kept confidential.

Recent consultations the FCA has issued discuss topics which directly affect financial advisers - such as on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy and the requirement for advisers to record their phone calls.

The latter consultation, which proposed extending the regulator's taping policy to advisers in order to comply with Mifid II, ended in January while the former, which proposes a wide range of changes to the FSCS regime, runs until the end of this month.

Responses vary wildly between different consultations, with the FCA's consultation on pension reform rules in 2016 receiving 86 responses while the one about the FSCS management expenses levy for 2016/17 receiving just three.

Chris Hannant, director general of the Association of Professional Financial Advisers, said: "It is helpful for advisers to respond if they can, just because the FCA does look at numbers and we often try to help our members response by giving them a draft response which they can tailor.

"But you do need to recognise that many advisory firms are very small and lack the resources to engage with the FCA across the board. You could spend all your time doing it and that's the reason trade associations exist."

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: “Feedback from the financial advice sector is being sought more than ever before, with the number of FCA consultations in 2015 almost three times greater than in 2005.

“It is important for professionals in our sector to participate in the ongoing debates and discussions that have ensued since this landmark review.”

“However, the capacity of financial advice professionals to respond to calls for input is limited by other time and resource pressures associated with meeting client and other day-to-day commitments, which is why we actively seek member input through our board, regional network and partners.

“We have been increasing the role we play in influencing policy to safeguard consumer outcomes when responding to regulatory consultations, and will continue to encourage our members to offer their views during this critical time of sector reform.”

The FCA declined to comment.

damian.fantato@ft.com