The voice of advisers

The Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) is the trade association for financial advice firms. We act for and on behalf of all advisers to campaign for a more favourable trading environment.

Scale is power

Through scale APFA achieves a dialogue and influence over the regulator that advisers alone cannot. APFA provides a platform for all advisory firms to get their voice heard by the regulators and stakeholders governing the advice market. By pulling together as a united voice we gain power and influence to realise change that individuals couldn't achieve on their own.

Your issues are our issues

Our agenda is set by our members, who contribute their issues and experiences. These are the current issues that are concerning members and which APFA is campaigning hard on to change and improve:

APFA has been active and vocal on behalf of members to ensure that advisers are able to benefit from the pension reform. We have sought to put the promotion of advice and referrals to advisers at the core of the guidance and for the MAS database of advisers to be open to ALL advisers. We have also pressed to reduce the potential cost burden of the guidance guarantee. We are in close dialogue with the Treasury, FCA, MAS and TPAS about the detailed implementation of the guarantee.
Following our campaign, the FCA, in its 2014/15 business plan said it would look at the question of a Longstop. We have been discussing with the FCA how it intends to take this forward.

We have been pressing BIS and FCA on the potential obstacle the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive may pose, as we believe the concerns expressed are misplaced. In reviewing the need for a longstop, the FCA has two questions; first: What harm has the absence of a limit done to the advice sector? Second: If there is demonstrable impact, what can be done that would ensure a fair balance between consumers and advice firms?

APFA has established a working group of members to help make the argument and will present our conclusions to the FCA this autumn.

If this has been a concern for your firm and you have any evidence as to the impact it has had on your firm, do not hesitate to get in touch at info@apfa.net.
Lobbying on regulatory fees has long been a priority for APFA. In 2010, we achieved a change in the way costs were allocated reducing costs for advisory firms. Following RDR, the reduced risks to consumers means that less regulatory resource is needed to supervise advice firms. We have been lobbying for the FCA to look again at the way it allocates costs to advisers. As a result, this year the fees for the FCA and MAS have fallen for advisers on a year on year equivalent basis.
While it is positive to see that only a small number of advisers have had complaints referred to FOS, it is worrying that some of our members feel the Ombudsman does not take proper account of the evidence they provide. We have an agreement from the FOS to review cases where APFA believes there has been an overtly bad decision. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep this issue front of the Ombudsman's mind. Share your experiences with us.
Much of FCA regulation comes from the EU - these are agreed some years ahead of their implementation in the UK. APFA works with fellow trade associations in other member states to defend the interests of financial advisers and intermediaries. By working in partnership our voice is stronger and enables us to achieve successes, such as preventing a cap on the fees that advisers could charge. APFA's monitoring of future regulation helps to ensure a better business environment for tomorrow.
Research from APFA shows that adviser firms spend on average 24 hours a year on RMAR reporting, at an estimated cost to the industry of £10 million. We have pressed for the reduction of the reporting burden and the FCA is looking at the data it collects from firms. We believe it needs to be able to explain exactly what it does with every piece of data it collects. If it can't explain what it's needed for, it shouldn't be collecting it. FCA has already responded by reducing RDR reporting, but could go further. We're also asking the FCA to look again at the deadlines for submitting data and to increase the time to report from six weeks to three months.

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At the heart of the issues on our agenda, is the rising cost of running a business.

By joining forces we gain the power to influence fee levels and models and industry levies for benefit of all advisory firms. In addition we can use this scale to broker deals to help reduce the day to day operating costs. Members can access significant discounts on a range of products and services including printing, stationary, virtual receptionists, legal services and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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