Initiatives to boost advice take-up

The government has unveiled a raft of exemptions from the Financial Services and Markets Act to promote the take-up of advice.

Off the back of the chancellor’s pre-Budget statement, the Treasury has unveiled three key measures to tackle issues such as debt and barriers currently stopping small, high-growth firms from attracting the funding.

Citizens Advice Bureau and similar advice centres will be exempt from FSA rules as many are wary of giving financial advice for fear of being caught by the FSMA.

Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury, says: “Many people with debt management problems find it difficult, if not impossible, to access advice from FSAauthorised persons, given their financial position. Yet 6.9 million families report some difficulties in meeting their debt repayments.

“This deregulatory reform will enable advice centres to raise people’s levels of awareness and understanding in financial matters, enabling them to manage their finances better.”

Employers will also be exempted to encourage them to offer pensions to their staff.
Small, potentially high-worth firms will also be deregulated, allowing them to self-certify that they have sufficient funds.

James Cotton, mortgage specialist at London & Country, says: “It will work as a good starting point to take anyone with financial problems through their general situation. Such firms can point them in the direction of more specific advice from people authorised by the FSA.”