IFAs have come out strongly against Chartered Status being set as the minimum qualification post RDR, FSA managing director Clive Briault told delegates at the Retail Firms Division Conference today.
He said: “There is considerable support from you for higher minimum standards and enforceable codes of ethics.
“However, you have also told us not to set the qualifications bar as high as the equivalent of Chartered status because of the potential for this to strip out significant market capacity; to take a balanced view of knowledge, skills and experience in measuring competence; and to make sure that we allow sufficient time for the industry to transition to higher minimum standards.”
He also sought to reassure IFAs who run “niche” businesses that the regulator was aware of their fears they may not survive in a post RDR market.
“We are mindful that some of you run businesses that might be described as "niche" – by virtue of your particular product ranges, your affinity with particular consumer groups, or your approach to distribution. We recognise your concerns that market change might threaten your business models and we will take that into account when we consider the ideas further after April.”
Briault says the FSA intends to publish an Interim Report on the RDR in April to be followed by a full Feedback Statement in October.
In another key part of his speech, he also warns advisers the FSA will be keeping an eye on firms to ensure increased financial pressures in recent months have not led them to reduce their efforts to meet the conduct of business requirements (COB).
“We will be challenging the senior management of firms to demonstrate to us that this is not the case,” he says. “And it is important to be clear here that, despite current market turbulence, Treating Customers Fairly remains a key priority.”IFAonline
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