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FSA issues fresh appeal to IFAs over staff placement scheme

by Jun Merrett on Nov 19, 2012 at 16:50

FSA issues fresh appeal to IFAs over staff placement scheme

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has renewed appeals to IFAs to let its staff spend up to a week in their firms in an effort to learn more about how they are run.

This month the regulator has written to adviser trade bodies the IFA Centre and the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (Apfa) to ask if any of their members would be interested in voluntarily hosting an FSA employee from between two and five days.

The aim of the scheme is for FSA staff to gain a better understanding of life inside an advisory firm.

IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy (pictured) said the scheme would not form part of the FSA's supervisory activities and its staff were not there to ‘report back’.

'The FSA staff will just shadow the IFA on what they are doing,’ she said. ‘They are there as observers and not spying. This has nothing to do with supervision; the FSA wants to understand what business in a firm is like.’

Cardy said two IFA Centre members had volunteered for the scheme.

Chris Hannant, Apfa policy director, said: 'The FSA has made a request to us and we will be testing the waters with members.'

A spokeswoman for the FSA said: 'The FSA has done placements for a long time and it is how we engage with advisory businesses.'

28 comments so far. Why not have your say?

JM Keynes

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:15

Don't know who would volunteer for this one, given the FSA's "rule by fear" Stalinist stance over recent years.

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Jon De Plume

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:17

As the advice community often moan that the regulator has no idea how a business is run or what the IFA sector is like in practice, you would think they would welcome the chance to provide some real insight to the FSA.

But probably not.

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GregB

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:34

Whilst not at all against such an idea, in fact I think it is a great idea, but can it really happen post comments of ".... be afraid.....", and have I missed something in that we are months away from the FSA being defunct?

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David Hedge

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:45

Sounds a great idea, but who could trust this lot?

I suppose the answer will be if you're doing nothing wrong there can''t be a problem.

Would these novices be prepared to work the hours that we do? Doubt it.

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Well Now

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:45

Not a bad idea, but would you actually get any work done? Or would you just loose a week of your life?

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Incompetent regulators award team via mobile

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:48

HMRC offered amnesty and special attangents to people who had secret offshore accounts. When people came dorward this gave them the list they needed and then subsequently investigated those people for tax evasion.

With public sector attitude and the history of FSA plunders, fines and coupled with the lack of real productive work, who in their right mind would trust them? I suspect only a fool!

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Gillian Cardy

Nov 19, 2012 at 17:58

Two of our members have volunteered to host FSA staff, and members have hosted FSA staff in earlier years.

@Jon de Plume : couldn't agree more. Maybe, just maybe, the time spent by the FSA and the commitment shown by those prepared to spend time with them, will prove to have been well spent,

For those who don't want to take part, for whatever reason, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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Peter J Gabbett

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:00

"No good turn goes unpunished" spring to mind.

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Martinifa

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:12

Thinking about this, as already said we complain they do not understand, well this is our chance.

Maybe if they actually saw the work loads, issues from our side, they might start working with us not against us.

Only a thought.

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Martin Wight

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:13

So - they understand now they have no idea whatsoever what an IFA does yet control us.

If the staff are not there to report back where is the evidence of their chain of activities as one would expect from a regulated firm's record keeping.

Pretty pathetic really and without creating another Fay Goddard response Gill Cardy has courted media attention for years now.

What is the IFA centre anyway?.

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Smithling via mobile

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:17

Hmmm. Risk versus Reward assessment of the above offer.

Tough one.

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rick atkinson via mobile

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:21

How the hell can you take this bunch seriously. Theyve been "regulating" us for years but NOW seem to think its ok to try to understand what we do.

They should have done this right at the start.

Useless! Utterly useless!!!!

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Jenny N . I FA

Nov 19, 2012 at 18:24

Sounds suspicious to me. I know I should be more trusting but my 20 years of experience had made me this way. Don't trust anyone. People have different morals these days and they lie blatently and don't even have a conscious.

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James Clancy

Nov 19, 2012 at 19:14

What have you to lose I for one would welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue with the FSA and show them how we work on an everyday bases .

If we are going to influence change policy we have work and trust the regulators.

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Philip Wise

Nov 19, 2012 at 19:24

Having received an expression of interest from the FSA, we are now going to issue a consulation paper, giving stakeholders the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of our allowing an FSA member of staff to come in to the office for free. We'll be employing an independent consultant to review the responses, and a couple of separate consultants to draw up a cost:benefit analysis, and of course an equality statement.

Three months after that, we will issue a guidance consultation, setting down the answer we'd already decided upon, but in a bit more confusing language. We will expect the FSA to cascade the document throughout their organisation. We will of course issue the document to the press, trade organisations and compliance consultants so they can confuse everyone by putting their own spin on our response.

Having decided that we arent going to change anything after all, we will send the FSA a big bill, giving them 28 days to pay.

Shortly after which, we will close down, start up a new firm (just changing one word in the title), employing all the same people and doing pretty much the same, and announce that what we decided before wasnt right.

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Man in Black

Nov 19, 2012 at 19:38

@Philip Wise

I've had a crap day and your post has just made me feel a bit better.

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Man in Black

Nov 19, 2012 at 19:46

This is one of those 'free rider' things I guess.

We really need plucky IFAs to step forward and offer these placements: including allowing said FSA people to see how professional advisers handle client meetings so they can see that its not just "if its not written down, it hasn't happened".

But honestly, would I personally trust *some* FSA employees? Well, when you've witnessed them forge documents, conceal visit agendas, lie about what was said at meetings and misrepresent what has happened on client files...well, you'd be a little bit cautious...Its the usual thing that most of these guys are actually nice people, but there's a small nasty portion you'd need to be careful of.

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Chris Miller

Nov 19, 2012 at 21:03

The FSA, asking me to do them a favour? I'd rather put my hand in a bacon slicer.

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Kate Brookes

Nov 19, 2012 at 21:31

Isn't it a bit late, wouldn't it have been a better idea to have done this before the plans for RDR were finalised? I am seriously starting to think that this whole thing is one sandwich short of a picnic, or are we playing 'good cop, bad cop' now. Let me know, answers by pigeon before they cart me off to the funny farm please.

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disgusted

Nov 19, 2012 at 22:50

This is an early Aprils fool...right?

Mars this way <======= ========> Pluto that way

How about IFA's go the FSA (all expenses paid of course) for 1 week? Then we could really see what goes on behind closed doors.

Talk about insulting

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Running For The Exit

Nov 19, 2012 at 23:49

Why not? Provided of course, they have diploma level 4 status (and presumably previous experience as a MacDonalds Burger Flipper. Otherwise they are just not going to fit in).

Whilst we are about it lets have all FSA staff professional qualifications. We need to see how challenged our FSA guests will be and how challenging it will be to teach them anything remotely useful as opposed to FSA rule book babble.

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Jonathan Kirby

Nov 20, 2012 at 09:27

You could be cynical and say that as the FSA will be the FCA nothing the former agrees would be applied to the latter.

On the other hand, it they are genuinely wanting to understand how small firms work and look after their valued customers then I am not going to complain. After all I have been complaining for years that they haven't a clue what we do and how we do it.

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Martin Bamford

Nov 20, 2012 at 09:59

We've participated in this scheme before and it is a worthwhile experience; I would like to think that we learned as much as the FSA did over the course of a couple of days. It's a great opportunity to give the FSA a genuine insight into the workings of a typical IFA practice and I hope that they find lots of willing volunteers for this.

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peter goodwin

Nov 20, 2012 at 10:11

They should have done this BEFORE they wrote the rule books and implemented RDR. Alternatively they could employ some ex IFA's to really understand whats going on as there are plenty that are selling out. What they will establish is that the majority of clients, that were previously well looked after will not be able to afford an adviser...essentially creating an exclusive consumer service to wealthly clients.

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Lyndon Edwards

Nov 20, 2012 at 11:28

Yes, why not - if we can have a reciprocal placement inside the puzzle palace .

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Saran

Nov 20, 2012 at 13:35

The FSA have been doing this for years. We hosted a placement here for a week around five years. Yes it was time consuming, but he was absolutely great to work with, we have become good friends, he is now a senior manager and we have learnt a great deal from each other. I fully recommend this to anyone running a customer focused business, we will be offering to assist again.

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John Smyth 3

Nov 20, 2012 at 13:56

They are admitting that they know little or nothing about how IFAs work yet have made all of the rules that govern them. this is really rich!

If they had recruited a few IFAs, like they did with bank employees, into their organisation over the years they might know how they work

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Gillian Cardy

Nov 20, 2012 at 20:55

@Lyndon : that's a really great suggestion - I don't know why I haven't thought about asking for that myself. I'll get on to it right away - and if they agree I'll be sure to pass on the invitation right away - as long as I don't get shouted at some more when you find out about it!!

@John Smyth 3 (and others who have the same idea) : let's be honest with one another - if an IFA started working for the FSA they would be pilloried at great length on these blogs for leaving a sinking ship, quitting being an adviser before the RDR balloon goes up and everything goes generally pear-shaped, and / or taking up the cosy pensioned life of a regulator with none of the pressure of the business owner ... no-one can ever do anything right thing can they??!!

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