Regulated firms may only need to complete Section K of their Retail Mediation Activities Return (RMAR) once annually rather than the current twice-per-year under data changes proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The regulator is suggesting changes to both the RMAR and the annual questionnaire for Authorised Professional Firms (APFs).
For the RMAR, it is proposing moving to an annual, rather than six monthly reporting obligation for Section K and, as it previously suggested, allowing firms to complete that section on either a cash or accruals accounting basis.
The regulator plans to make a number of changes to field labels and references in Section K in a bid to make the completion process easier for advisers. However, there will be no material changes to the data advisers need to report.
For details of the FCA's plans to change field labels and references see page 12 of the consultation paper.
The FCA is also proposing to get rid of Section L - consultancy charging altogether, after the Department for Work and Pension effectively prevented consultancy charges from being deducted from automatic enrolment pension schemes.
The regulator estimates that the changes will more than halve the current £2.6m cost to the industry of reporting consultancy and advice charging data.
In November 2013, the FCA published a technical note for firms on how to report under Section K, and that note will now form part of the FCA's Handbook guidance.
The consultation also proposes to bring the annual questionnaire completed by APFs into GABRIEL, the FCA's online reporting system, and reduce the number of questions by 75%.
Last September the FCA published a new data strategy saying it would look at the data it collects from the retail investment space, including from advisers, to see whether its new information-gathering efforts were working.
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