TCF principles ‘insufficiently implemented’

Angela Faherty

June 17, 2006

A debate at the Retail Intermediaries Sector Conference, centred on the future for intermediaries in the retail market, revealed uncertainty over the TCF rulings and its implementation across the financial services sector.

Speaking at the event John Tiner, chief executive of the FSA, said the market was getting to grips with TCF rulings, following a period of uncertainty. He said: “When the TCF initiative was launched there was significant resistance from some firms about us being involved. When it was launched there was a lot of ‘get your tanks off your lawn’ talk, and it proved difficult to get the TCF mantra into advisers psyche. Intermediaries are now more aware of it.”

Responding to Tiner’s comments, Simon Chamberlain, group chief executive of Thinc Destini, argued the larger financial firms were being unfairly targeted by the FSA. He said: “Bigger firms certainly feel victims of apathy. Small firms are not visited very often, if at all and so the psyche of TCF is a lot more ingrained within the bigger companies.

“It is in every adviser’s interest to implement and take stock of TCF,” he added.

Tiner dismissed suggestions that the regulator was targeting bigger firms, but admitted financial constraints made the FSA’s decision hard. He commented: “The compliance standards we set are the same for all, not just the small or large firms. As a regulator we can go one of two ways, either take a risk-based approach, or have a massive upheaval and regulate everything. It is impossible to get to all of the 29,000 firms we regulate and our costs limit how much we regulate and how we go about it.”

Benny Higgins, chief executive of HBOS, added TCF was a good ruling. He said: “The emergence of TCF has an expression has been rapid, but there is an element of ‘what do you think we were doing’ by advisers. It is definitely a helpful principle.”

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