Shayne Halfpenny-Ray examines regulatory updates from across the sector
Regulatory fees and PII
The PFS have been collecting evidence from across the advice profession about the increase in regulatory fees and the reduction in availability of professional indemnity insurance (PII) cover – as well as the introduction of certain exclusions that have affected business operations – and sharing this with the regulator and HM Treasury.
Members may also have seen our interventions on this issue and PFS CEO, Keith Richards, has a constant dialogue with both the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensuring this matter remains
a priority area.
We are also aware that this is not just a sectoral, or advice-related, issue but is more a systemic problem, so have been collaborating with colleagues from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, the British Insurance Brokers Association and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries to look at possible cross-sector solutions.
We will be issuing a joint statement to the government in due course. While continuing to call for a second Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR2), the PFS are making it clear that meaningful change will require legislative change. We urge members if they have not already done so to write to their MPs with specific examples of changing costs during recent years.
Financial Services Register
In August, the FCA launched the new design for the Financial Services Register. The aim of which is to establish a clearer, simpler service for consumers to navigate to find approved individuals who undertake regulated activities.
The full register has been delayed due to the pandemic, alongside some of the wider senior managers and certification regime reform implementation dates, but the FCA expects it to be available later this year. The FCA also notes that the deadline for solo-regulated firms that are required to provide information about directory persons to the register, is 31 March 2021.
At the beginning of September, the PFS responded to the FCA’s consultation on its guidance for firms advising on pension transfers. See bit.ly/33b00Uq
While we broadly agree with the intention of the guidance and its drive for higher standards and professionalism, we were concerned about a few areas, including the contradictory guidance on contingent charging, insistent customers and abridged advice.
The FCA aims to consider the consultation feedback and publish finalised guidance by quarter one of 2021. We will keep continue to feed into this process and keep you apprised of any developments there may be on this.
Financial Services Bill
As the Financial Services Bill makes its way through parliament, it is worth mentioning that HM Treasury is legislating a new prudential regime for investment firms – the Investment Firms Prudential Regime.
The government’s policy statement sets out the main areas of change for banks and investment firms here:
The PFS will engage with the Financial Services Bill as it passes through parliament.
Shayne Halfpenny-Ray is policy and public affairs adviser of the PFS