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FSA's Geale urges IFAs to ‘give RDR a chance’
by Michelle Abrego on Nov 29, 2012 at 09:57
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is often accused of being out of touch with IFAs, but it is not an allegation that can be levelled at David Geale, the man charged with dragging the retail distribution review (RDR) over its impending finishing line.
Geale (pictured), appointed the FSA’s head of investment policy after his predecessor Peter Smith departed for Dubai in May, was previously an IFA before making the move to Canary Wharf.
Prior to switching from poacher to gamekeeper, Geale worked as a bank adviser. He moved on to become a financial and mortgage adviser for a number of small firms, and was an appointed representative of a major insurer before becoming an IFA.
‘I know where they [IFAs] are coming from,’ he said. And similar to IFAs, Geale has had his work cut out with the RDR.
While the majority of IFAs have come around to the merits of the RDR and the benefits it will bring consumers, there is still anger directed towards the regulator from some quarters over the manner in which it has communicated the reforms.
Geale, though, is adamant that advisers have ‘got more than enough [guidance] ahead of the deadline’.
Despite confusion remaining over the regulator’s definition of restricted and independent advice, he said the regulator had no plans to come out with further clarifications and that the final guidance should be enough for advisers to understand and follow.
‘We did quite a lot of research into the various labels we could use, and what we were seeking was something that was clear and that consumers had a chance of understanding,’ he said.
‘[Our] research led us to keep with [the] independent and restricted [labels] rather than anything more complicated than that. We could split hairs on “what do you mean by unbiased” and [some might argue] that there is a more standard definition of independence, but our research led us to that [the final guidance].’
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