The rise in costs in the Financial Services Authority's (FSA's) latest invoice could encourage firms to manipulate figures to achieve a lower bill, an adviser has warned.
Sam Caunt, a partner at Kingston PTM, received an FSA invoice totalling £23,000 on Friday - £16,000 of which was the annual FSCS levy, a rise of 153%.
"When you look at the implications, our advisers have to do another £6,000 each just to cover the extra levy," he said, equivalent to £10 per hour.
"There was a £7,000 interim levy in February and there could be yet another one. There's no cap."
The way the regulator calculated a firm's charge - based on the turnover, adviser numbers and the types of business it wrote - was unfair on advisers who wrote more investment business.
"We've done a little bit more investment business and consequently it rises more.
"That seems a very unfair of going it when you have chartered advisers and capital adequacy."
It could also encourage unscrupulous firms to re-categorise the business they write, he said.
"The FSA can't check the information: they just expect you to provide that information accurately and honestly.
"Out of ignorance many firms get it wrong, because it is very difficult to identify what is life and pensions, what is investment and what is mortgage business, especially when you are doing fee work.
"You could manipulate the figures and the FSA wouldn't have a clue."
Kingston's fee of £750 to cover the Money Advice Service, while small, was a symbolic symbol of contempt from the regulator, Caunt said.
"£750 is not big in the scheme of things for a firm with a million in turnover," he said. "But it is the principle of it. I don't understand why we should have to pay for educating the wider population. It seems like we're the easy target."
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