Trade body the IFA Centre has welcomed the Financial Services Authority (FSA's) finalised guidance on delivering independent and restricted advice.
The regulator confirmed yesterday firms who refer clients to restricted advisers for retail investment advice will not have their independence threatened after implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) rules.
Managing director Gill Cardy said the FSA's rules on referrals were the most significant change to the guidance.
"There can be little reason for firms to continue to delay the decision whether to offer independent or restricted advice post-2012," she said.
"It is now very clear that if a firm is not advising a specific client but instead referring him or her to another firm, perhaps a discretionary manager who has restricted status, or another adviser providing restricted advice at lower cost targeted to a client segment with fewer assets or lower income, then the firm referring the client will not lose its independent status."
The guidance also provided reassurance for practices that operated a collegiate approach to advice, she said.
"The clarification provided on the validity of a ‘team approach' to advising clients will be welcomed by those firms who have teams working together to enable clients to benefit from the expertise of specialists.
"This also provides the possibility of a very positive, although non-advisory, role for those advisers who do not plan to pursue a level 4 qualification."
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