MPs warn of RDR abandoning IFAs

MPs in the Treasury select committee have raised strong concerns about the effect of the retail distribution review (RDR), with some suggesting that IFA trade bodies are not doing enough to help older advisers unhappy about the new qualification requirements.

Robert Sinclair
Robert Sinclair

Speaking at a committee evidence session this morning, Robert Sinclair, Aifa director, and Steve Gazzard, IFP director of operations, were asked what they were doing to help older advisers, many of whom were constituents of MPs on the committee.

George Mudie, a committee member and Labour MP for Leeds East, said he represented constituents very unhappy about the RDR. Addressing Sinclair and Gazzard, he said: “I have a lad in his late 50s who has been in the industry for 20 years and you have left him abandoned because he is not passing the exams. He is out of a job.

“Is there an effort being made to get an assessment system that will rescue these lads and lasses who have been in this industry for many years and are now stranded and are not able to work in the future?

“You are saying there is a way forward but there are difficulties, are you intent on getting that way forward or is this just words?” (article continues below)

Sinclair told the committee that he agrees with the QCF level four benchmark qualification but suggested the “cliff edge” date to comply with the RDR is “unfortunate”. He said the industry has been unable to find assessors who could deliver work based assessment instead of formal exams.

Gazzard said that it is not something which had been raised to him by IFP members.

Sinclair (pictured) told MPs the debate has been reduced to talk of exams and commission. He said: “It feels as though we have come down from dealing with some really fundamental economic issues within the industry and actually getting more savings and engagement with consumers, to a debate around exams and commission.”

Sinclair told the committee it is right that professional standards are increased but said he has concerns over whether the shift to level four qualifications by 2012 is deliverable.

He said: “We believe the aspiration to level four is exactly the right level for us to get to, but this cliff edge date at the end of 2012 amid the other cliff edge debates affecting the industry at this time is, I think, unfortunate.”