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Small brokers criticise cost of FSA workshops

Small brokers have branded Financial Services Authority workshop costs “horrendous”.

The FSA has embarked on a series of workshops to help brokers understand issues such as Treating Customers Fairly and complaints handling, but a one-day workshop can cost a broker as much as 464.

Brain Bates, sole trader with Look Mortgages, says the FSA does not realise sole traders cannot afford the cost of these workshops, nor the time out of the office.

He says: “It doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s the proprietor who finds the clients, makes the appointments, makes the sales, does the filing and makes the tea.”

Bates was sent a letter by the FSA telling him he should attend six workshops including one on Treating Customers Fairly at a cost of 464, one on enforcement costing 40 and a half-day seminar on management responsibilities for 175.

If Bates attends all the seminars it will cost him 1,154, apart from the cost of lost business due to being away from the office and travel expenses.

Sole trader Roy New calls the costs horrendousHe says: “We pay the FSA a lot already. It’s horrendous how much these talks cost.”

Abi Jones, spokeswoman for the FSA, says: “Our workshops are not mandatory and we appreciate some smaller firms might find it hard to attend. The costs go towards the venue and delegate materials. Our website contains copies of the speeches for those who can’t attend.”

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