FSA joins McDonald’s RDR row

Sheila Nicoll, the director of conduct policy at the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has agreed with Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban’s view that advisers must raise their qualification above a diploma in shift management at McDonald’s.

In a Westminster Hall debate yesterday which addressed the retail distribution review’s (RDR) impact on advisers, Hoban said: “The current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. The products that are being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and long lasting in their effects than a Big Mac.”

Speaking at a Chartered Insurance Institute RDR conference today, Nicoll said: “I know that Mark Hoban caused a bit of a stir by his analogy of present qualification to being equivalent to a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. I know there has been a considerable reaction to that. (article continues below)

“All I would say is that is school leaving level really enough for professionals who are advising on people’s pensions, their investments for their children’s education and weddings, rainy day money, annuities and all sorts of very important and complex situations?

“I just think the simple answer to that question is that it is not enough. The new standard QCF level four is roughly the equivalent of the first year of a bachelor degree and we think this is the right minimum level of training and qualification for advising people on important decisions.”