Regulation Overload

Let me apologise now. This is probably the least interesting blog I have ever written for clients. Don’t be fooled by the picture of pretty cygnets.

Frustrating Month

Hopefully from the outside, our business just looks like its nice and relaxed. But like a swan, above the water all looks serene but below the surface every moving part is going like the clappers to keep it there. Such has been the last month or two with for us more to come over the coming months.

Authorised & Regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority

This one line says it all, but let’s dig a bit deeper to see what it means. Authorised is easy to explain. It’s just the first hurdle to jump. Show the FCA you have sufficient capital to wind down a business if it all goes wrong and they will consider your application. Minimum capital is currently €50,000. Continue reading “Regulation Overload”

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Almost as imperceptible as the Mer du Glace on Mont Blanc slowly receding, today marks the end of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the start of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Hardly a seismic change. Apart from the FCA’s new logo it looks like business as usual on the whole.

There may be an “under new management” sign up at Canary Wharf, but many of the old personnel of the FSA are the faces of the new FCA. At least there is now no confusion with the other FSA, the largely discredited Food Standards Authority following the recent organised horse meat scandal. Continue reading “The King is dead. Long live the King.”

To boldly go Independent or Restricted

Being an Independent Financial Adviser is a lot like being Captain James T. Kirk.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Since the beginning of this year, proving our Independence has become a difficult mission for us and for many other IFAs also. Of the 10 largest advice groups in the UK, nine have already given up and become Restricted Advisers, which sounds – well – Naff. Here’s a question; What would you like, Independent Advice or Restricted Advice? Continue reading “To boldly go Independent or Restricted”

The Retail Distribution Review

There is a revolution about to occur in financial services. Over 17,000 financial advisers have disappeared from the industry over the last two years and a further 20,000 are likely to join them over the next year. The number of financial advisers will have halved. The Financial Services Authority has master-minded these changes over the last six years and from 31st December 2012 new higher standards will be in place. For many it has proved impossible to up their game. Continue reading “The Retail Distribution Review”

We are different

We operate in a heavily regulated marketplace and that is why we are becoming an increasingly rare commodity. As much as firms like ours strut about declaring our “Independence” and the fact that “We are different”, we are in effect forced to work in a certain way by two drivers.  And unfortunately neither of those drivers is the client!  The first driver unsurprisingly is the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the second is Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Continue reading “We are different”