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Backstage with Keith Richards

29th June 2016

 

The result of last week's Brexit referendum took many by surprise but it was always going to be a close race, with a poll conducted by the Personal Finance Society in the lead up to the vote revealing that member opinion was evenly split.

The immediate response from currency and financial markets has been volatile, but this will ease as traders and investors come to terms with last week's decision. But as negotiations regarding the terms and conditions of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union continue, a degree of uncertainty is likely to linger for some time yet. For professional advisers, this means an increased level of demand from consumers worried about the impact of a future deal on their personal financial circumstances and it has been apparent that many firms have been kept extra busy since the vote was announced.

For anyone expecting radical change to the country's regulatory landscape in the wake of last week's decision however, this is unlikely to materialise. The UK has driven its own regulatory agenda for years and has always had the opportunity to apply for variations to EU rules where it feels appropriate.

The unpredictable or adverse impact however, which may include a restriction on UK advisers being able to operate cross-border, is likely to become clear quite quickly as the EU looks to push the agenda.

Firms covered by MiFID are authorised and regulated in their 'home state' - broadly, the country in which they have their registered office. Once a firm has been authorised, it is able to use the MiFID passport to provide services to clients in other EU member states. 

As a result of Brexit, some UK advisers who provide cross-border advice may have little option but to apply for individual authorisation in different EU states or become a member of an organisation with its registered office in an EU member state such as Ireland.

Meanwhile, implementation of MiFID II is due by January 2018 - prior to a formal exit from the EU - and the UK's adoption of this wide-ranging legislation will be largely unaffected.

On Thursday, the Personal Finance Society will host a meeting of the board of the European Financial Planning Association, of which the PFS is an affiliate member. I'm sure Brexit will be a hot topic for discussion as we continue to seek ways to maximise cross-border opportunities for professional advisers in the UK.

FSCS funding: risk-based levies in focus

Earlier this week I attended the second formal FAMR consultation meeting, regarding the regulator's review of the FSCS funding model. Debate was focused on the possibility of introducing risk-based discounts for adviser firms that exhibit a relatively low risk profile.

The discussions were encouraging but there is still a long way to go before a final decision is made on the best option to replace the current system of funding the FSCS.

Feedback from members so far has stressed that the most important aspect of funding reform is to remove the unpredictability of additional levies being charged on an ad-hoc basis.

Last summer's revelation that some advisers had seen the levy jump by up to 400 per cent was due in large part to the flaws in the current system.

I will keep you updated on my ongoing discussions with the FCA on this important area of reform, and welcome your further feedback and ideas on how to introduce a fairer funding model - please direct any constructive feedback to: membership@thepfs.org

 

Best wishes,

Keith

 

About the Blog

In this blog Personal Finance Society CEO Keith Richards will be keeping you up-to-date with all the Personal Finance Society news, projects and initiatives that we have in the works.

Read past editions of the blog »