The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has pledged to work with firms in 2013 as it carries out a series of thematic reviews into how the Retail Distribution Review has been implemented.
The FSA will conduct four thematic reviews this year in three cycles beginning later this month. It will publish its findings after each cycle.
Four areas will come under the scope of the regulator's investigations; professional standards, charging, description of services and independence and restricted offerings.
The FSA said 2013 will be a year of working with firms to make sure they are applying the new rules, and firms will be "given a chance" to adapt to the post-RDR world. Though if poor practice is still evident after the third cycle action may be taken against those seen to be lagging.
On professional standards the FSA will be checking the data it has received from firms and professional bodies against levels of qualifications at a sample of firms.
Another sample of firms will be picked to review charging models, and the FSA will be meeting with advisers to see if they are meeting the requirements.
The regulator will not be passing judgement on how much advisers charge but will look at how they have reached a decision that the charge is a reasonable price, and whether that is being presented fairly to clients.
On description of services the FSA will be checking that firms are accurately presenting their services to clients, for example that execution-only offerings do not stray into advice, and that the "spirit" of the RDR is being implemented.
The regulator will also be reviewing advisers' use of independent and restricted labels to ensure they are telling customers which type of advice they are receiving.
The results of this year's thematic reviews will feed into a post-implementation review of the RDR which the FSA will carry out in 2014 to see what the RDR has delivered for consumers and if any further changes are needed.
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