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Regulator's Woodall braced for a year of monitoring

by Michelle Abrego on Jan 09, 2013 at 11:12

Regulator's Woodall braced for a year of monitoring

FSA head of investment intermediaries Linda Woodall prepares for a year of reviewing the RDR’s impact and ensuring advisers comply with the rules.

The retail distribution review (RDR) deadline of 31 December was the beginning, not the end, of a long road to reforming financial advice, according to the woman charged with ensuring the changes deliver their intended outcomes.

Linda Woodall (pictured) is the latest in a string of Financial Services Authority (FSA) employees to be charged with overseeing the RDR. And while the regulator’s policy team may be taking a break in 2013, Woodall and her supervisory team are braced for a busy year, checking advisers fall in line with the new rules and that consumers benefit.

Woodall, who is head of investment intermediaries, said advisers must continually check their proposition delivers the right outcome for clients. She said the FSA would practice what it preached in this respect by reviewing the effectiveness and impact of its RDR policies over the coming year.

Four thematic reviews

The FSA will conduct four thematic reviews in three cycles over the next 12 months before publishing a formal review and research findings in 2014 on how successful the RDR has been, said Woodall.

The thematic reviews will be on professionalism, charging structures, description of advice and non-advised sales.

Woodall said the FSA would publish its findings and share guidance on what advisers needed to do to ensure good practice at the end of each cycle.

‘It’s recognised this has been a big change, and the fact that we’ve got this far is not the end of the story,’ she said.

‘There are three distinct cycles, and we will be sharing good practice and [information on] areas where we think the marketplace could improve.

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5 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Mark Ericsson

Jan 09, 2013 at 12:07

Very welcome pragmatism. The regulatory habit of "we've got a secret, you've got to guess what it is" appear to be over. The tone is conciliatory, supportive even. I particularly like the cycle approach adopted: Review, Gather and Analyse Information, Report Findings, highlighting Good Practices and Poor Practices.

The key will be the duration of each cycle. The sector needs a shorter period from initial round of research meetings/interviews through to publication of Good and Poor Practices, so Firms get early feedback from the FSA on where its expectations are.

It's a very positive start to the year, I conclude.

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Julian Stevens

Jan 09, 2013 at 12:17

No respite for intermediaries then? We've qualified to Level 4, converted to Adviser Charging, amended our IDD's, many of us have suffered yet further increases to our PII premiums, the FSA has refused to give an inch over the longstop, the proportion of complaints, complaints referred to the FOS and complaints referred to the FOS that are upheld which are attributable to IFA's continues to fall, more and more IFA firms are transitioning steadily towards recurring rather than just initial revenue streams. Yet all this still isn't good enough for the FSA. So much for Hector Sants' denial of the FSA having any sort of prejudicial agenda against IFA's.

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Jan 09, 2013 at 12:58

Hmmm, interesting.

Anyone else tried completing the RDR Professionalism Presubmission adviser return?

I have had an e-mail today from another firm who had my reminder, I have received anothers firms reminder. Tried to complete the FSA form as instructed, which clearly stated DO NOT PASTE information, but was unable to input details, so phoned the FSA help line. They told me you have to cut and pasta from the FSA website the IRN's.

So what should have taken me 5 mins took 45 mins. I have received incorrect mail, been given unclear and incorrect instruction, have had to complete the form against the clear instruction not to paste as you cannot complete unless you do cut and paste.

Anyone else feel four reviews might be OTT, costly and maybe they should spend a little more time looking at their own systems and TCF.

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lee rawding

Jan 09, 2013 at 14:19

Lovely processes. Beautiful plumage your Norwegian Blue. Just what I'd do to be honest can't fault the methodology or general approach.

It does stick in my craw when they do the Mystic Meg bit tho', soothsaying hasn't been their strong point thus far.

Full time regulators and part-time, quasi sales managers for 30,000 advisers of all shapes and sizes is how they come across in articles like this.

Quite bizarre and makes me wonder which side of the looking glass I'm on.

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Julian Stevens

Jan 18, 2013 at 19:37

The Gorgon speaks.......

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