FSA to impose professional standards for investment advisers from 2013
The Financial Services Authority has confirmed that from January 2013 all retail investment advisers will be required to hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS), if they wish to give independent or restricted advice.
The Statement gives consumers the evidence that an adviser has maintained high levels of training, has kept their knowledge up to date and maintains good ethical standards.
Reassurance to consumers
Richard Eastwood, head of Financial Services at Pearson Hinchliffe LLP broadly welcomed the new FSA rules: “The public’s faith in the financial sector has been severely dented since the credit crunch and several high profile scandals and collapses since 2009. The FSA is seeking to provide reassurance to consumers with these new controls, which we are pleased to see.
“However, most IFAs, Pearson Hinchliffe’s included, already exceed the minimum 35 hours per year of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that will be required of investment advisers by the FSA from 2013. What will be new is the even greater oversight by the FSA on each individual adviser; it will begin collecting information such as the qualifications each IFA holds and which accrediting body they use. This will help to boost public confidence in financial advice as independent advisers and those working within institutions will be required to demonstrate they have appropriate systems and controls in place and can provide evidence of continuing effectiveness.”
Rebuilding consumer trust
Sheila Nicoll, the FSA's director of conduct policy, said: "Rebuilding trust between customer and adviser is absolutely vital for the future prosperity of the retail investment market.
"When advisers open for business in January 2013, a Statement of Professional Standing will be a vital indicator for customers that the person they are dealing with is subscribing to a code of ethics, has up-to-date knowledge, and is appropriately qualified."
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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