fsa replacing mis-selling with no-selling August 22, 2012Posted by Bradley in : consumers, financial regulation , trackback
In a consultation paper published today (comments requested by November 14) the FSA states:
We have found that the majority of retail promotions and sales of unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS) that we have reviewed fail to meet our requirements, exposing ordinary investors to significant potential for detriment. This demands action. We are proposing to intervene in the market by changing our rules to ban the promotion of UCIS and close substitutes to ordinary retail investors in the UK.
Many sellers of these funds are not ensuring suitability and do not understand the relevant rules, so the FSA proposes to ban sales of unregulated collective investment schemes and “close substitutes” (including traded life policy investments) to “ordinary retail investors” (sales will be possible to sophisticated investors) (including investment through Individual Savings Accounts, self-invested personal pension schemes, platform services etc) reflecting a change in approach to stop problems arising rather than dealing with problems after they have arisen (and this includes restricting possibilities for regulatory arbitrage). The FSA says:
We are making the judgement that the benefits of improving customer outcomes for most retail investors outweigh the costs to the minority for whom they may be suitable.
Retail investors who genuinely seek out the investments will be able to buy them – the FSA’s concern is with respect to problematic financial promotion.
Under the heading “Who Should Read this Consultation Paper?” the CP says it will be of interest to consumers and consumer organisations. In terms of its subject matter, that is clearly accurate, but the document is not drafted to be accessible to those who are not used to navigating the complexities of the FSA’s rules.