FSA confirms FSCS claim limit hike; launches new consultation on retail pool

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The FSA has confirmed the annual claims limits for investment advisers under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme will increase from £100m to £150m but says it will consult again on some of its reform plans in the wake of industry opposition.

The FSA published a consultation in July which proposed new annual claims limits for firms. In its latest consultation paper on FSCS funding reform, published today, the FSA has confirmed the annual claims limit paid by investment advisers will go up by £50m. Life and pensions advisers will continue to meet claims up to a £100m threshold, while fund managers will see their claims threshold reduce from £270m to £200m.

The regulator also suggested the creation of a retail pool for firms under the Financial Conduct Authority which will have to meet claims where one class breaches its annual limit. This idea was met by fierce opposition by the industry, particularly the Investment Management Association, which argued the plans would mean providers would not be liable for misselling claims which related to their products.

The FSA says in light of these concerns it is opening a month long consultation on a new proposal which would see all providers make contributions when the pool is triggered by the failure of an adviser. This would include contributions from banks, insurers and mortgage lenders.

The regulator has also confirmed plans to calculate FSCS levies based on claims expected over a three year period, rather than the current annual claims forecasts. The new forecasting period will apply from 1 April, 2014, but will not apply to the deposits class.

FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll says: “We have listened to industry concerns and want input on this revised approach for the FCA retail pool.

“Finding consensus on this subject is always going to be a challenge but we remain committed to finding a workable solution that firms can afford and live with.”

FSCS chief executive Mark Neale says: “We recognise our levies can hit firms hard. The environment in which we operate is highly unpredictable. The costs of failure can be high.

“But our overriding concern is to make sure we have the money to pay claims as they fall due. There is no magic bullet to the funding issue. And there is no perfect system in what is a zero sum game.

“What I can promise is the FSCS will continue to strive under the new system to provide as much certainty or forewarning as possible to firms about the potential costs of compensation. We take our accountability to the industry very seriously.”