FSA has a cheek accusing advisers of being unclear

Having to drive my wife’s car to work the other day, rather than get grief for messing with the stereo I left it on the local radio station she listens to.

Imagine my surprise when during one of the commercial breaks, an actor’s voice started talking gibberish, trying to make the point that financial advice makes no sense to the average person.

Who paid for this advert? None other than the FSA under its Money Made Clear campaign, the idea being to inform people about financial matters in a language they can understand.

I nearly crashed the car through shock/laughter/anger. This from an organisation that dictates that our clients must receive compliant Initial Disclosure Documents, terms of business letters and Key Facts Illustrations. These all come highly recommended by the FSA (unless you want a huge fine).

In fact, clients can expect to get about 40 pieces of paper per mortgage transaction, forgetting any other financial advice.

The FSA helps us to provide these documents in a compliant way by providing guidance such as the Mortgage Conduct of Business rules.

Here’s a snippet from MCOB. “The purpose of MCOB 2.2 is to restate, in slightly amended form and as a separate rule, the part of Principle 7 (communications with clients) that relates to communication of information. This enables a customer, who is a private person, to bring damages under section 150 (contravention of rules) of the act to recover loss resulting from a firm that carries on activities referred to in MCOB 2.1.3R…”

If you printed out all the FSA’s regulatory guides and stacked them up, the pile would be 5ft high.

Are we paying fees to the FSA so it can pay for adverts telling the public how complicated our advice is and how simple its translation is – this being the advice it told us how to present in the first place?

Perhaps we should all adopt the FSA’s Money Made Clear approach to our paperwork. But as Easter is nearly upon us, don’t be surprised if the FSA crucifies you.

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