FSA reveals Retail Distribution Review update

Speaking at the recent Financial Services Distribution Summit, Amanda Bowe, head of department, retail distribution at the Financial Services Authority (FSA), claimed that the FSA had received mixed feedback on its proposals, and there was a need for a standard of professionalism that inspired consumer confidence.

Bowe said: “Some have embraced the paper, while others are understandably more cautious; some are rubbishing the whole paper in some cases apparently without having read anything other than a few headlines; others are providing really constructive comments on the pros and cons of the ideas.”

The FSA admitted the RDR sets out proposals which could require people to change both themselves and their businesses, and the examinations dilemma was also addressed. It said it was talking about higher professional standards and not just higher qualifications, and that it wanted to see the right balance between the qualifications required to do the job, and the experience and knowledge gained while doing it.

Bowe said: “We are not just interested in examinations. We are interested in a range of things that constitute professionalism including ethics, competence, experience, and so on.

We have always been clear that our paper is not the end of the process. It is the beginning, the starting point for further discussion.”

Kevin Paterson, group marketing director at Enterprise, said: “What concerns me is that it is trying to introduce factory gate pricing as it has always had a problem with commission. I can understand why in investments but it could sweep across the sector and drive a wedge between advice and product.”

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