It seems the FSA can do simple, which begs the question of why it has not done it before now?
The document runs to only five pages, has helpful headings and bright colours, and clearly demarcates the most important elements of the retail distribution review and what it means for consumers.
Not to be too trite, obviously it is writing for a different audience than that which its consultation papers are aimed at, but the FSA should consider using this approach more often.
The problems with the bulk of the FSA’s communication documents are twofold – too long and too complex.
The regulator will argue it has to cover all eventualities and loopholes to prevent people taking advantage of gaps in its guidelines.
But where there’s a will there’s a way, and if finance professionals want to find a way around something they will, which is where the FSA’s role of holding them to account comes in.
Concise and to the point
Not to dumb down the financial advice sector, but like most people advisers have a limited attention span and a lot going on with which to be distracted.
That doesn’t mean the FSA should not produce full-length documents to cover its back, only that perhaps a middle ground should be found in order to provide accessible and digestible information to the bulk of advisers, leaving compliance and regulation interpretation to the specialists.
Still, the FSA should be applauded for its consumer guide. It is ultimately investors the implementation of RDR is supposed to help.
The three main themes the guide addresses are: knowing how much advice costs, knowing what you are paying for and getting improved professional standards.
For a refresher on any of this, or to see what your clients’ are hearing from the FSA, click here.