Tenet has launched an e-petition as it seeks to address the lack of a long-stop for financial advice.
The petition, which is published on the government’s dedicated petitions website, asks the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to remove the subordinate legislation of the FCA rules which permits the ombudsman to consider a claim without any long-stop restriction and to apply the Limitation Act 1980.
Tenet aims to secure 10,000 signatures in six months, which should ensure the petition – entitled Fair liability for financial advice – is submitted directly to the government’s Petitions Committee. Options the committee can suggest include holding its own inquiry, referring it to a departmental select committee, seeking a response from the relevant minister or holding a seminar on the issue.
There have been numerous challenges over the years, some of them via the courts, to the lack of a long-stop for financial advice. As a result of the 2012 AIFA (as it formerly was) and Zurich-backed Fair Liability 4 Advice campaign, AIFA secured an amendment to be tabled on long-stop as part of the on-going House of Lords scrutiny of the Financial Services Bill. The amendment called for an additional clause within the Financial Services and Markets Act which would require complaints against financial services firms to be “brought within 15 years of the time of the act or omission.”
However, the FSA refused to give a firm commitment to reviewing whether a long-stop for financial advisers should be introduced. It instead made a commitment that the FCA will consider whether to investigate the case for a long-stop as part of its business planning for 2014/15, something APFA is now pledging to press the FCA on.
Helen Turner, Tenet distribution and development director, said: “The time has come to again address the current unfairness regarding liability for financial advisers when compared to other professions. Despite the FCA arguing that it is ‘not in the interests of the consumer’ to bring in a long-stop, that is not an acceptable reason for departing from the rules which apply for other professions whose work also has long term implications.
“The situation we find ourselves in is patently unfair on IFAs. No other profession is being penalised in such a selective, unjustifiable manner.
“We would ask that every adviser… sign(s) our e-petition and then asks every client, family member and friend to do the same. For our part, we will be using all our contacts and lobbying power to try and ensure this petition has as much impact as possible.”