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CISI to tackle FCA register problem

CISI to tackle FCA register problem

The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment has said it is ready to step in and replace the Financial Conduct Authority's register in 2018.

But Simon Culhane, chief executive of the CISI, said the body would need reassurances from the FCA before it steps into the regulator's shoes and created a register of financial advisers.

In mid-December, MPs were told around 13,000 steelworkers who requested a pension transfer value from the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) have struggled to find a qualified adviser to help them using the Financial Conduct Authority register.

Rich Caddy, shift operations manager at British Steel in Teesside, said after finding a financial adviser that he was comfortable with he was forced to look for another one, since he was informed that the firm was at capacity.

Mr Caddy also said that it is difficult to find a professional suited for pension transfers.

He said: "The advice we have been given is to look in the [Financial Conduct Authority] FCA register, but only after looking at the drop-down menu [of a firm's register page] I found that they were not able to give pension transfers advice.

"This process could be made so much easier if I was able to find a pension transfer specialist just by putting in a post code."

The problem with the way the nation's advisers are listed for the general public has been made worse by the extension of the senior manager's regime, which will mean only senior managers will appear on the FCA's register.

Mr Culhane said: "We raised this important issue with the FCA back in April 2016 stating how damaging it would be for firms and the public to be deprived of a single, reliable source of information.

"With the Chartered Bankers we were, and remain willing to, provide the channel for replicating the Register and allowing the public free access.

"However, it is clear that we need some of the legal protections available to the FCA if this is to become a reality, so we will be watching closely over the next few months as to whether the FCA listens to the profession and thinks again."

Mr Culhane cited data that showed the register has received 70.6 million views between November 2015 and November 2017.

The CISI is not the only trade body concerned about the future of the FCA's register.

Last month the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association said the register is currently “not fit for purpose” and warned some effects of the new rules forcing senior managers to become more accountable for what happens in their firms could be “retrograde”.

Mr Culhane said another feature of 2018 was the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect in May, with a compliance forum starting next month to look at the practicalities of implementing the rules.

The General Data Protection Regulation introduces a number of regulations which will affect financial advisers, including the right to erasure, meaning an individual can request the deletion of personal data relating to them, and the right to access, meaning an individual can demand information on how their data is being used and a free copy of their personal data.