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The FCA’s review into the delivery of independent advice has revealed that “a significant number of firms appear to understand the new requirements” but that, as with any change in practice and culture, there is still some way to go. Common failings include not considering off-platform investments and networks not ensuring that all appointed representatives meet the independence requirements.
One comment which caught our eye relates to the requirements themselves. Commenting that the regulations are there not as a tick box exercise but to ensure that clients receive the service which they have been led to expect the FCA say that “If firms put their clients at the heart of their business, keep an open mind and consider all options for their clients, independence should follow naturally.”
Putting clients at the heart of business, staying open to options; these are not only the characteristics of an independent advisor, they are also the characteristics which mark out organisations with a strong culture which is geared towards providing an exceptional level of customer service. In the review the FCA highlights the firm which commented that independence is a state of mind. Businesses with a strong and ethical culture will find that this comes naturally to them as they strive to provide an exceptional service for their current and future clients.