The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has started a thematic review into firms' non-advised investment sales and delivery of 'simplified' advice.
It wants to take an "early look" at the distribution channels to ensure good customer outcomes are being delivered.
It has written to a sample of firms asking them for details on business models, product ranges and governance and controls and will begin on-site visits in January and February next year.
The FCA said it was entering the review "with an open mind" but was interested in finding out how simplified advice models were structured to address people's needs and how firms went about helping consumers choose products.
An FCA spokesman said: "As part of the FCA's new approach, we want to take an early look at these distribution channels to ensure that consumers are getting the right outcomes and, if necessary, provide clarification for firms.
"We are entering this review with an open mind. We intend to conduct assessments on a sample of firms from different sectors and with a range of business models.
"Our focus will be on understanding the extent to which firms' non-advised and simplified advice models have been developed to meet the needs of their target market and how firms help their customers purchase the right products for their needs and objectives."
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