The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has called on the FSA to "rebuild public trust" by developing higher professional standards in the industry.
In its first position paper response to the RDR, the institute is also seeking a single set of standards and ethics, a new complaints system and further disciplinary functions.
CII president Lord Hunt of Wirral says he has made improving public confidence and enhancing professionalism the theme of his presidency.
"One way to ensure we rebuild public trust – and it is not a short-term or easy fix – is to build professionalism throughout our industry so that we match the attributes, capabilities and behaviours of the best of other professions,” Lord Wirral says.
"Professionalism is not simply about passing exams, important though this is. It is a declaration to the public at large that the advice given by an individual or firm is of the highest quality; is based solely on the needs of the customer; is provided by someone who is not exceeding his or her level of competence; is governed by a code of ethics; and is subject to consistent monitoring, with effective discipline applied to those who transgress."
The CII is calling for:
- A single framework of ethics and tiered technical/skills-based standards
- A single, independent professional standards board for the retail financial services sector with a disciplinary function and substantial public interest representation
- New complaints system, reporting to the professional standards board as well as the professional body's own governing board
- The introduction of meaningful sanctions to deal with serious breaches of the code of ethics
"We will lead the debate and hope to develop a single framework of ethics for the sector," CII chief executive Dr Sandy Scott says.
“This paper sets out some ideas which we hope will meet the approval of our members and act as a basis for practical reform."
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