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Backstage with Keith Richards

17th May 2016

A fairer FSCS levy scheme.


Most of you would have noticed recent and encouraging comments from Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) chief executive Mark Neale, who has called on the financial advice sector to play a bigger role in helping to shape a fairer FSCS levy scheme.

Like many in the sector, Mr Neale has been a long-term advocate of a risk-based levy, but has urged advisers to engage with the consultation process if such a scheme is to be successfully implemented.

Mr Neale's views will no doubt carry some weight during the FCA's review of FSCS funding, and so I am delighted that he has agreed to be interviewed for the next edition of Financial Solutions magazine to share more insight and views. Keep an eye out for the feature article when FS appears in the first week of June.

Like Mr Neale, I believe the financial advice sector has a huge role to play in shaping a fairer FSCS funding system and many of you will know that we raised the matter with the Chancellor last July and subsequently proposed alternative funding methods in our FAMR submission. Last week I met with the FCA and FSCS for a pre-consultation meeting to discuss its review, and while I acknowledge that many of you are sceptical about the timing and likelihood of meaningful reform, there is definitely wide recognition of the need to seek an alternative funding mechanism.

Ahead of my first FAMR consultation meeting with the FCA next week, I welcome any constructive feedback from members around potential alternatives to the current funding mechanism. In my view there are four options that should be considered, including a product/investment levy, a pre-funded system and a risk-based or pooled risk principal levy. I would encourage advisers to think more about the long term consequences of their business models and the ultimate benefit or impact on consumers.

Ultimately, the consultation process will determine the most appropriate funding system and input from members, who operate at the coalface each and every day, will help shape a desirable outcome.

Pent up demand for talent

As some of you may have seen in the press last week, the Personal Finance Society's recent apprenticeship survey produced some interesting and encouraging insights from members.

An overwhelming majority (97%) of respondents supported a specialist apprenticeship for the advice sector while three quarters said they would be interested in taking on an apprentice if the new specialist programme is approved.

I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who responded to the survey. The results will now be assessed and used during the development phase, to help design an apprenticeship programme that best meets the knowledge, skills and behavioural demands of the sector.

The apprenticeship programme is due to go live in mid-to-late summer following approval from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Engaging with our friends on the continent

As the Brexit debate continues to dominate headlines in the lead up to June's referendum, the Personal Finance Society continues to seek ways to maximise opportunities with our friends on the continent.

Together with two practitioner members, I travelled to Italy on May 5-6 to attend a financial planning think tank event hosted by the European Financial Planning Association (EFPA), of which we are an affiliate.

The event offered invaluable insight into current developments across European advice markets and offered a platform for us to present the positive progress the profession is making here in the UK.

The meeting, and our ongoing association with EFPA, will help us to investigate and develop cross-border opportunities for our members across Europe.

Best wishes,



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 »