Broker anger over new FSA ‘training’ fee

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

This is the latest attack on the FSA for charging fees for its training. Last month Mortgage Introducer revealed how brokers had accused the regulator of continuously trying to ‘flog’ brokers expensive training courses – with intermediaries insisting the training should be free.

Gary Lester, managing director of London-based Lifestyle Mortgage Services, said he now gets more ‘junk mail’ from the FSA than from anyone else, attempting to sell him a variety of courses for a few hundred pounds.

Lester informed MI that the regulator has now introduced a new web-based training tool for RMAR which brokers must pay £5 to gain access to. But Lester claimed the site falls well short of being a training tool to help them with RMAR reporting.

He said: “Training? Well actually it is access to a part of the FSA website that tells you how and why RMAR is there. For this it wants £5. The FSA can’t even give free access to its own website. It’s disgraceful.”

John Stewart, director of PMI Independent Financial Advisers, agreed. He said: “Charging £5 is outrageous. Whether it’s £5, 20 pence or 5 pence is not the point. It should be free. The FSA is simply a money-making machine.”

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokes-person at the FSA, defended the fee. He said: “There are some training tools on our dedicated regulatory returns site which require a small fee for access. The general point with training tools is that there is a cost because it takes up our resources.”

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