On 22 July 2019, the FCA updated its web page concerning the call for input on the evaluation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

The FCA states that since issuing its call for input in May 2019 it has received 57 responses from a range of consumer bodies, trade bodies and firms. Some of the main themes that have emerged so far include:

  • regulatory perimeter. The boundary between providing guidance services and regulated advice is not clear to all stakeholders. The FCA has been told that this can result in some firms feeling unable to provide potentially useful information to consumers if they feel there is a risk that it will be perceived as regulated advice; and
  • Many stakeholders have said that consumers value face-to-face advice and that alternatives (including online services) are less popular. Others have said that new forms of advice and guidance are reaching more consumers, but that more work needs to be done to incorporate technology into the market to help consumers.

The FCA also reports that it has decided not to include certain issues in its review. These issues will be informed by other projects, such issues include:

  • requirements relating to defined benefit pension transfers;
  • changes to the award limits for the Financial Ombudsman Service, including consequential impacts on the Professional Indemnity Insurance market; and
  • changes to how the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is funded.

Over the coming months, the FCA is planning to conduct additional research. This will include information on the industry and consumers:

  • industry data. The FCA will survey a selected sample of firms, to collect additional data about the industry, at the beginning of August; and
  • consumer data. The FCA plans to gather consumer information through: (i) the Financial Lives Survey (FLS), which is an extensive survey of consumers based on face-to-face and online interviews about their experiences of financial products and services; and
  • separate qualitative consumer research to support the quantitative data in the FLS.

The FCA will publish further updates on its work later this year. It expects to publish a final report in 2020.