Julian Stevens WDS IFAs Kingswood, Bristol. Dear Sir, If proof were needed that the FSA func...
If proof were needed that the FSA functions on a different planet from the industry itself, then it must surely be its proclamations on the issue of PI cover in Investment Week on 16 June.
On the one hand, we have AIFA and Sofa who represent intermediaries and who, one may reasonably presume, are in regular contact with a broad spectrum of the intermediary market, saying that 'the experience of their members indicates the situation ... is getting worse'.
Yet David Kenmir, sitting in his ivory tower at Canary Wharf who has, one may presume, little if any direct contact with intermediaries, says 'the situation looks to be improving.' Looks to whom? And on what evidence?
The evidence that more than 80% of intermediary firms requiring PI cover were unable to obtain it during May?
If this is Kenmir's idea of an improvement, then it must be an extremely small improvement on what any ordinary observer would be hard pressed to describe as anything other than a crisis about as full blown as they get.
It would be interesting to know on what basis Kenmir feels it appropriate to make such a statement. As for Gill Cardy's resentment of being pushed towards joining a network whose services she has no intention of using, I suggest that, before writing them off as unworthy of consideration, she ought perhaps to research just what's available and acquaint herself with just what those services might be.
Or is she of the opinion that her technical knowledge and research capabilities are so wide-ranging and so up to the minute that she never has any need at all to lean on the expertise of others?
The way the industry is these days, you have to run just to keep up, let alone stay ahead and we can all do with a helping hand from time to time.
Furthermore, it may be helpful to correct two fundamental misconceptions she seems to have.
Firstly, joining a network does not mean giving up your independence. Provided you join the right one, of course, it is more like joining a club which provides ongoing supervisory guidance to no greater extent than that stipulated by the FSA.
Secondly, nor does it mean being forced to run your business the way somebody else does it. That certainly isn't the way things are with the network of which we are members. Though it would be disingenuous to claim that we have never had the odd minor run-in with our network, I firmly believe we are a better run and thus safer and more secure small practice than would otherwise be the case if we were rowing our small boat alone on the high seas tossed carelessly by the relentless storms of regulation.
Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
Joined as head of strategy, multi asset, in June
Group income protection
Nine in 10 do not have income protection
Set to become part of Single Financial Guidance Body