Financial adviser firms and small businesses are missing out on the indsutry reforms consultation pr...
Financial adviser firms and small businesses are missing out on the indsutry reforms consultation process because a lack of joined-up thinking and planning by government departments, bodies, as well as the EU, simply produces too many documents.
That was the evidence presented by the Association of IFAs' chairman, John Gummer MP, to the Lords Select Committee on the Constitution on Wednesday when asked to give evidence about the accountability of all regulators to parliament and its citizens.
While much of the talk was aimed specifically at the Financial Services Authority's statutory processes, the AIFA was able to present evidence which indicates government and EU policy is being composed without considering the cumulative effect.
Not wanting to single out criticism towards the FSA for its raft of consultations over recent months, Gummer argued that the lack of consultation and cooperation between government departments has instead led to a challenge between important proposals for regulatory changes, because they were created by different regulatory bodies.
Referring to the differing and yet similar aims of documents such as the Sandler Report and depolarisation, Gummer also argued that it is difficult for the AIFA to hold faith in UK reforms written before EU law has been finalized - for example, in cases such as rules on IFA Professional Indemnity Insurance and its position within the EC Investment Services Directive.
Gummer claimed that the process itself does not equal accountability because one of the key problems was a lack of focus in handling one issue at a time when dealing with regulatory rule changes.
"Our solutions are not focused on changing process, either by adding to it or complicating it further, they are concerned with putting less strain on the process which exists, " says Gummer.
"This requires better prioritization of initiatives and a timetable which allows one set of initiatives before another is begun," he added.
Fewer initiatives at once might then allow the smaller financial services firms, such as IFAs, to then contribute to the debate and "take ownership" of any changes being laid out because they would then have time to read and digest any new ideas.
Key points made by the AIFA to the Committee suggest bodies should prioritize and produce a 'must do' list of regulatory reform and leave the 'nice to do' things until there are less pressing issues.
Likewise, government and EU bodies need to collaborate more to avoid the 'exclusive' label they all seem to seek, so there are fewer and shorter documents for IFAs to read.
Click thru the right-hand link to read the full written evidence presented to the Lords Select Committee by the AIFA.
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