The FSA will review the exam standards of pension transfer specialists ahead of other areas, despite calls from the industry for it to prioritise closer scrutiny of mortgage advice.
In a policy statement on Competence and ethics, published today, the regulator says it expects the pension transfer specialists' standards review to begin in Q1 2011.
It says it has prioritised this area due to the number of upcoming changes to the pensions landscape.
Home-loan related examination standards will be next, though the FSA says the timing for this review will depend on the outcome of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR).
Most responses from the industry on which activities should be looked at first named advice on mortgages, lifetime mortgages and equity release.
The rest of the exam standards will be reviewed in order of priority according to factors including consumer risk, the last time they were reviewed and where there are no existing standards, the FSA policy paper says.
In the future the regulator says it will set out "well in advance" which examination standards it will be reviewing, when and why.
The order in which the FSA will review exam standards, by area:
- Acting as a pension transfer specialist
- Mortgage advice
- Lifetime mortgage activities
- Equity Release
- Advising on investments in the course of corporate finance business
- Managing investments
- Advising on syndicate participation at Lloyd's
- Long-term care insurance
- Overseeing collective investment scheme administration
- Overseeing safeguarding client money (Overseeing safeguarding and administering of investments or holding client money)
- Overseeing investment management administration
- Overseeing life policy administration
- Overseeing stakeholder pension administration
- Advising on without dealing in securities only
- Advising on without dealing in derivatives only
- Advising on without dealing in securities and derivatives
- Retail investment advice (advising on packaged products)
- Advising on and dealing in securities only
- Advising on and dealing in derivatives only
- Advising on and dealing in securities and derivatives
Pain thresholds key
To communicate equity release's wider opportunities and benefits, writes Chris Flowers, providers and advisers need to think about how best to engage not only its usual target audience but also their families
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