FSA lists new retail adviser standards

THE FINANCIAL Services Authority (FSA) has finalised a list of requirements retail investment advisers will need to meet before they can operate under the new Retail Distribution Review (RDR).

Within the next three years, the FSA has proposed that investment advisers will have to hold a statement of professional standing, which confirms that the adviser meets the new professional standards terms.

Under the new requirements, advisers will need the appropriate qualification, will have to be up to date with all policies and will need to follow a strict ethical code.

The FSA said that it has added 13 new qualification measures, including industry exams, making the system more comprehensive for advisers.

“From January 2013, customers will be in a position to know that anyone registered with the FSA to give retail investment advice is fully qualified to do so, and any recommendations will be made solely in the interests of the customer,” said Sheila Nicoll, the FSA’s director of conduct policy.

But investment advisers will have to fork over the money to pay for their own qualification, which is expected to cost between £60 and £175 per person. Advisers also have to get verification from an accredited body.

Almost 50 per cent of investment advisers already hold some form of qualification, while 30 per cent are currently studying towards obtaining one, according to the FSA.

The finance watchdog said that the qualifications form part of its plan to enhance the reputation of the retail investment market by “instilling greater professionalism and ethics”.

Nicoll said: “Enhancing trust between customer and adviser is absolutely vital for the future prosperity of the investment market.”