On 30 November 2022, the FCA published Consultation Paper 22/24: Broadening access to financial advice for mainstream investments (CP22/24).
In CP22/24 the FCA sets out proposals for a new core investment advice regime. The aim is to allow firms to provide mass-market consumers with straightforward financial needs, greater access to simplified advice on investing into mainstream products, specifically with stocks and shares ISAs.
Henceforth, the FCA is consulting on the following proposals:
- New guidance clarifying suitability obligations so that firms have confidence on the minimum level of information expected for the fact find. This aims to reduce the time needed for the fact finding and resolve some of firms’ liability concerns.
- Limiting the range of investments within the new regime so the advice is easier to deliver and understand.
- Making the qualification requirements for the new regime more proportionate so delivering the simplified advice is less costly for firms.
- Introducing increased flexibility in payment schedules relating to advice costs for consumers. The aim with this is that the price of existing advice provided by humans, rather than robo‑ or auto‑advice, should reduce.
The regime is based on the FCA’s existing requirements for holistic financial advice, which will continue to apply in some areas. In others, the FCA proposes adding new requirements, amending or removing them. The new Consumer Duty will also apply. A table at paragraph 1.15 in CP22/24 summarises the regulator’s approach.
The deadline for responses to CP22/24 is 28 February 2023.
Subject to the responses received, the FCA will look to publish a final Policy Statement and finalise rules and guidance in spring 2023, targeting implementation of the regime before the end of the 2023/24 financial year (i.e. end March 2024) so firms will be able to start offering core investment advice from the beginning of April 2024.