April fool, decide for yourself?

 

April fool, decide for yourself?

All advisory firms in a post RDR world have had to look carefully at their proposition, segment their client base and decide what to charge their clients taking into account the underlying costs of running their business.

This would include things like staff cost, regulation, accountancy, capital adequacy, legal, utilities, insurances, office premises, FSCS, taxes, NI, pension contributions etc.

These numbers would then be incorporated into some P&L software and in Mr. Micawber speak, doing the ‘math’ on the tried and tested formula of “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six pence, result misery”, and see what the outcome is for them.

Financial advisers in fee block A013 may be interested to know that for the fee year 2015/16 the latest forecast for FCA regulatory fees to be invoiced was £74.85m.

So, with this thought in mind, we asked if the regulator could confirm what it actually costs to regulate this group of adviser firms.

The reply should be the cause of some concern.

  • Dear Mr. Bradley
  • Freedom of Information : Right to know request
  • Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) for information aboutFCA Regulatory Fees, specifically:
  • The amount levied in FCA regulatory fees for firms in the A013 category (Advisory only firms and advisory, arrangers, dealers, or brokers) in 2015.
  • The actual cost incurred by the FCA for regulating those same firms in the A13 category (Advisory only firms and advisory, arrangers, dealers, or brokers) in 2015)”
  • Following a search of our paper and electronic records I am writing to tell you that we do not hold the exact information you are seeking, for the reasons set out below.
  • Point 1: We have still to complete our invoicing for the fee year 2015/16, but our latest forecast for FCA regulatory fees to be invoiced in respect of A13 fee block for the period is £74.85m.
  • Point 2: We no longer carry out an exercise where the actual costs are calculated against each fee block compared with the fees invoiced. We consulted on stopping this exercise, referred to as a ‘true up’ exercise in CP10/5 (March 2010) Chapter 9 paragraphs 9.16 to 9.20 http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/cp/cp10_05.pdf. We did not receive any objections to that proposal.
  • The amount of our annual funding requirement (AFR) allocated to fee-blocks is based on where we plan to use our resources in the next fee-year. We consult on the fee-rates to recover these allocations in our annual March fees-rates consultation paper (CP) and feedback on responses in a June Policy Statement. For 2015/16 the allocation to the A013 fee-block was confirmed as £74.9m in Policy Statement PS15/15 Chapter 2 which includes our feedback on responses to the March CP.http://www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/policy-statements/ps15-15.pdf.

 

If I may draw on another Dickens quote from ‘Little Dorrit, “I am the only child of parents who weighed, measured, and priced everything; for whom what could not be weighed, measured, and priced, had no existence.”

The FCA, who seem to have a data metric on just about anything and everything cannot quantify what it costs to regulate this fee group?

I find this hard to believe. A regulated firm would not be deemed fit and proper if it had no idea of what it costs to run their business.

The time has come for some openness. To simply say that “We no longer carry out an exercise where the actual costs are calculated against each fee block compared with the fees invoiced” is just not good enough. This is a simple P&L exercise surely?

And as for not getting any objections to their ‘true up’ exercise, I think they should assume that they might well have one or two now.

This is NOT an April Fool.

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