Comment

Re-assessment Test

The FCA and the CII have launched a new 'Level 4' test for practising advisers. This has to be applauded as many advisers have had no reassessment since first gaining their qualification. Some of our firms already conduct their own assessments, but this new exam,...

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Not Good Enough

No one can accuse our regulator of not doing its bit to keep the unemployment stats down. In the last 4 years, the head count at the FCA has increased from 2,511 to 3,379. That’s 35%. Costs went up by a more modest 25% to £334 million. Frank Field, who chairs the Work...

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MiFID Moans

An article appeared recently in one of the pinks where an IFA was complaining that MiFID 2 rules requiring him to undertake annual reviews, in order to justify the cost of ongoing advice, were hampering his business. He said ‘The issue is that there may be some...

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The Ethic of Care

In his Mansion House speech of 2014, Martin Wheatley, the then CEO of the FCA stated that future regulation would place far more emphasis on good judgement rather than compliance with a narrow set of rules. The 'ethic of care', doing what is right, would take...

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Appointed Representatives

In 1998, 10 years after the start of regulation, some 80% of advisers were acting as appointed representatives (ARs) of networks or of larger IFAs. Over the last 10 years though this has fallen back to probably a bit less than 50%. Increasingly firms now have the...

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Whistle Blowing

The FCA and before them the FSA, set great store by 'whistle blowing' whereby employees or anyone else 'in the know' could report skulduggery in their firms which might not otherwise go undiscovered. They were to be secure in the knowledge that their tipoff would be...

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Fund Fees

The FCA has just completed a 2½ year investigation into the UKs £8.1 trillion fund management industry, focussing on operating practices and whether charges are excessive. The time taken to complete the investigation certainly seems excessive. It is difficult to...

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Bitcoins

Bitcoins rose in value by nearly 1,500% in the past year and although they have now fallen back substantially, they still represent a massive return for those who got in early. For those who are kicking themselves for not having taken a punt on this enigmatic currency...

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Trump Tax

We were hoping to achieve the Pearly Gates without having had to mention the name 'Trump', however, needs must. The small handed one has lived up to his 'America First' policy by imposing a new tax on the interest payments made by the US branches of foreign banks to...

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The Financial Reporting Council

According to its website, the FRC 'regulates auditors, accountants and actuaries. Sets the UK’s corporate governance and stewardship goals and promotes transparency and integrity in business.' Going from its recent activities though it might be fairer to say that it...

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Pensions Deficit

A senior FCA person has outlined the regulators expectations with regard to transfers out of defined benefit schemes into money purchase arrangements. There is nothing new. The usual good practice and common sense stuff about weighing up all the pros and cons, making...

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GDPR – Revisited

Further issues have surfaced with the General Data Protection Regulations due to come into force next May (see last month's leading article). Again it is around the intention that all data subjects should have the right to demand erasure of records held about them by...

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GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulations become law on 25th May 2018. We will be conducting a programme of 'rolling audits' with our client firms which we expect will bring everyone to 'GDPR compliant' status by the end of March. It is not in fact a major exercise....

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HMRC

HMRC Tax Collectors have hit on a new tactic for encouraging people to pay what they owe. They have published a list of the main ways they have of identifying miscreants. Presumably the theory is that those who might otherwise try to avoid paying their due, will look...

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Structured Deposits

If your firm wants to continue to advise on, arrange and deal in structured deposits after MiFID II takes effect, this will mean a change to your firm’s scope of permission to include this investment type. Up until 2nd January 2018 there is a special process in place,...

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