FCA advice boss backs away from cutting regulation

The FCA’s newly appointed advice boss has told a Labour fringe meeting that loosening regulation to encourage new players to offer advice “is not the right way forward”.

Speaking on a panel at the conference in Brighton today, FCA director of life insurance and advice Linda Woodall said the watchdog should not reduce regulatory demands to encourage more firms to enter the market.

She said: “I don’t think loosening of regulation is the right way forward. As a regulator we are very much keen to see more advice available, and of course there is already additional guidance through Pension Wise that helps support consumers through the choices that they have to make.

“What’s important is that advice is of the right quality to help people make appropriate choices.”

The comments come as the FCA and Treasury begin the process of the Financial Advice Market Review, which will look at whether there are obstacles to greater provision of independent advice. Woodall acknowledged that much remains uncertain while that process is underway.

She said: “It’s sensible to see what the outputs of the review tells us and then we will focus our efforts in the right place.

“Without ever supporting the provision of poor quality advice, what we can do and have done is to support innovation in the way it is delivered.

“Clearly there are different types of advice and it can present firms with some complexities if you don’t get it right, but there are now, through the benefit of technology, many routes to deliver that advice.”