The Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) has endorsed the regulator's show of interest in the issues firms are facing with Retail Mediation Activities Return (RMAR) reporting but warned that more work needed to be done.
Senior technical adviser Linda Smith said the terminology that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had introduced in its RMAR overhaul following the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) was so confusing that even accountants found it difficult to know how to fill the reports in.
She said: "People are misunderstanding the terminology and a lot of accountants don't understand it either. So advisers have got accountants to help them yet they are still having problems doing it."
Smith endorsed the fact that the regulator was looking into the issue but she said the paper issued on Wednesday, which promised a better communication strategy with firms over how the FCA intends to collect and use data, was lacking detail.
"They are recognising that there are problems which is a good thing but really they haven't gone into the detail. We need to look at the issue more in depth but the fact that they are looking into it is a good thing," she said.
Smith also confirmed that the issue was very high on APFA's agenda.
The FCA admitted to failings in the handling of data by its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), in its paper The FCA Data Strategy - How we will manage and use the data we collect.
It said: "We recognise that in the past the FSA did not always request data and information from firms in a clear and effective way.
"However, overcoming this legacy will take time, as much of the data and
information we hold and continue to collect was initiated by and for the FSA, and our current data handling capability was defined by it."
The regulator announced it would look at the retail investment sector, including advisers, first when evaluating its new strategy.
Smith said: "We need to find out more about that but hopefully there'll be something we can do about changing it.
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