FCA sets out RDR disclosure concerns

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The Financial Conduct Authority says it is concerned about the way some advisers have implemented the RDR, including how charges have been explained to clients and restricted firms describing themselves as independent.

The regulator carried out research between February and April to examine how advisers have adapted to the RDR.

It says while many firms have made progress, there were some “common issues” which emerged.

These included providing charges in percentages, rather than cash terms, which the FCA says some consumers found confusing.

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley flagged these concerns last week at the annual public meeting, saying that “dealing bias” continued to exist where advisers are only paid when people buy a product. He cited adviser charged based on a percentage of assets invested as an example of these concerns.

In its research today, the FCA says other problem areas are where firms are describing themselves as independent when they are in fact restricted, and advisers who are failing to clearly explain what service customers will receive for ongoing service.

FCA director of supervision Clive Adamson says: “The research for this report was undertaken just a few months after the implementation of RDR, so provides an early snapshot of what has changed.

“This early view shows, while firms have acted, they still have more to do to if a customer is going to be in the best possible position to understand the price they will pay and the service they will get for that price.

“Firms should carefully consider the feedback covered in this report. We strongly encourage advisers to look at the examples highlighted, and take immediate steps to help their customers better understand the charges and services being offered.”

The FCA has also carried out separate research into the effectiveness of firms’ disclosure documents on charges and service.

The regulator is sending out a factsheet to over 6,000 adviser firms to help them assess whether the issues the FCA found apply to them.