The FCA has now announced its fee levels for 2015/16. Whilst they have noted in the policy statement many aspects of the AMI submission objecting to the 8.5% increase in both minimum fees and the overall tariff, they have decided to ignore the well-argued industry objections. We cannot let this rest here. AMI will be campaigning to inform the Treasury Select Committee of the extravagant increase in FCA budget, which we continue to see as unfair on our firms. We will also be considering what action we need to take when the FCA undertakes its Annual Meeting on the 22nd of July in London.
In addition to this, firms can expect to see large increases in their FCA annual invoices when they arrive due to the £100m Compensation Scheme levy on the life and pensions sector. Firms in the protection advice sector are being asked to compensate consumers who were wrongly advised by pension advisers to invest in unregulated investment schemes. The FCA were asleep on the job and you are having to pay. There will be a consultation later this year which will give us the opportunity to change the structure of the schemes, but if we merely re-arrange which firms pay, then we will have to find another sector to pick up the bill. A more credible solution might be product levies, collected by product manufacturers that funds the Scheme and ensures that at least those who create the problems have contributed to the solution. To address current issues, we are concerned that following RDR in the investment community, some firms might be under-reporting their income from pensions work. This will be increasing your share of the compensation bill. We are pressing the FCA for assurances on this, but to date we have been unable to gain comfort. We will be continuing to lobby on your behalf, to protect your interests. Mortgage and protection advisers need a strong voice at this time and be assured we are on the case.