The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has moved to calm some firms by making clear it will not be analysing adviser charging data to see if it represents "value for money" to customers.
The FSA is conducting four thematic reviews this year in three cycles to monitor the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). The first - on professional standards - began last month.
The three other areas that will come under the scope of the regulator's investigations are 'charging'; 'description of services' and 'market distortions'.
As part of this work, a sample of 50 advice firms -including small, medium and large practices, and independent, restricted and hybrid firms - will today be sent a questionnaire in an "information gathering" exercise to see what advisers are charging and what controls they have in place around remuneration.
Of those 50 firms, 20 will be visited by the FSA and subject to a full review to assess disclosure of adviser charging, though not suitability, FSA technical specialist Rory Percival said.
Once the FSA has visited those 20 firms, it will send feedback to all of the businesses who received the questionnaire, and at a later date will publish good and poor practice guides for the rest of the industry to help them meet the regulator's standards on disclosure.
The questionnaire will also ask for details of what services advisers are offering and what controls they have in place to monitor them.
"This is not a hardline compliance assessment," Percival said. "We hope to help the industry provide good practice around disclosure. It is part of our new approach to act early to avoid problems crystalising and to help the industry get in the right place at the earliest possible juncture."
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