Aifa: FSA data plan endangers human rights

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) suggests that the FSA’s consultation paper on Data Collection has human rights implications.

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) says the FSA’s consultation paper on Data Collection has “clear human rights implications”.

Earlier this year, the regulator said it will keep a constant eye on complaints data for individual advisers throughout their careers, with information linked to Individual Reference Numbers, although the data will not be published.  In its consultation paper, published in May, the FSA said it will seek to accumulate data on adviser and consultancy charging revenue as well as information on client numbers and charging structures.

AIFA says it has “serious concerns” about the cost and time implications for advisers and has called on the FSA to demonstrate the practical application of the data required.

AIFA director of policy Andrew Strange says: “Our member working group has raised serious concerns about the cost and time implications of the reporting proposals for firms.

“While it is understood that the regulator needs access to relevant information, the data must be collected in a cost effective manner and only when it will actually be used.”

AIFA also issued a caution about the general implications of the FSA’s new data requirements, which could add to the costs that financial advisers are already facing from the retail distribution review.

Andrew Strange also stated that: “The FSA should reconsider the time-scales for collection of data relating to adviser and consultancy charging.

“Our own work indicates some ambiguity from firms over the rules around adviser and consultancy charging, particularly when combined with the lack of final rules on areas such as legacy business and platform service operators.”

In its full response, the AIFA declared: “If the FSA is collecting this data to provide insights on individual advisers then the misreporting/allocation of complaints against an individual adviser who has left the firm could have a material impact on their ability to – or speed of – authorisation and thus could present a restriction of trade.

“This has very clear human rights implications. The appeals mechanism also needs to give thought as to how complaints made against a firm in-FSCS default or a firm no longer trading but not in default can be appealed against and addressed.”

With today’s response the AIFA has called on the regulator to clarify its intentions and the impact of the proposal.

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