The FSA is seeking to find the right balance between adviser qualifications and on the job experience to improve professionalism, RDR head Amanda Bowe says.
Speaking at the Financial Services Distribution Summit today, Bowe tackled some of the misconceptions surrounding the July discussion paper.
On the subject of professionalism, she says the regulator is not solely concerned about examinations.
“We are interested in a range of things that constitute professionalism including ethics, competence, experience, and so on,” Bowe says.
“Identifying how best to achieve this balance is one area where the industry could usefully take the lead.”
Another contentious area Bowe discussed was regarding the term ‘independence’.
“Some IFAs we have spoken to think that professionalism is a stronger brand and more important in gaining customers' trust than 'independence' which, some say, means a variety of things to consumers,” she says.
“But many have responded that independence means choice and therefore must be limited to those firms that offer products from the whole market, i.e. those that are not tied or multi-tied.”
Bowe says the whole of market proposition “may well be where we end up”.
She says she is pleased to see firms are taking the time to discuss and respond to the RDR and nothing contained in the paper is yet set in stone.
“What we say is that many of the things that have been put forward in the paper – improving professionalism, building more sustainable businesses, giving customers a greater say in how advisers are paid – these are things that many would say the industry should be doing anyway,” she says.
“Whatever the shape of the eventual proposals, we are committed to seeing through reform in the market for the good of all its participants."
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