The Financial Services Authority's (FSA) Rory Percival has told advisers to put clients’ needs ahead of undertaking actions to appease the regulator.
Percival, FSA technical specialist, told New Model Adviser® if advisers focussed on treating customers fairly then compliance would follow naturally.
He said he was concerned, from talking to firms, that advisers were undertaking actions, such as using multiple platforms or building centralised investment propositions, just to prove that they had gone through the appropriate motions to the FSA.
'A lot of what advisers do, the focus is around "what do we have to do to make the FSA happy? What steps do we have to undertake? Can I have a checklist of things we have to go through?”
'I can understand why firms go there but I think the concern is they get more focused on what they think we [the FSA] want and often get that wrong, rather than focusing on treating customers fairly.'
He said that he had seen one adviser that went through the process of restructuring a platform proposition, for the sake of compliance, but in the end it did not resemble something that was appropriate for his firm or clients.
In ensuring compliance, Percival said that advisers should take four steps: 'do the thinking, make sure it’s robust, write it down and check it works'.
'They [advisers] need to be doing the right thing for their business and their clients and by default we should be happy with it,' he said.