Investment - Articles - PIMFA brands FSCS Indicative Levy as unsustainable

Reacting to FSCS’ announcement of a budgeted levy of £635 million, PIMFA, the UK’s trade body for the personal investment services and financial advice profession, has said that yet again, the FSCS compensation cost is at an all-time high and the cost burden falling upon their member firms is totally unsustainable. Compensation cost is a material item for all firms, large and small, and is ultimately borne by the consumers of firms whose activities do not give rise to consumer detriment.

 In a recent member survey conducted by PIMFA, it was revealed that participant firms reported the range of FSCS as a proportion of turnover between 1% and 10%. The FSCS bill showed as an increase of 200% for some respondents and was a 52% increase for financial advice firm respondents. As a proportion of their overall regulatory bill, 86% of large full-service wealth managers participants saw an increase of 57% from last year, and double the amount of stockbrokers are paying above £1 million.

 PIMFA CEO Liz Field said: “The year on year excessive level of compensation cost is such that we call upon the FCA Board to carefully consider whether FCA’s existing supervisory regime is fit for purpose, and for HMT to fundamentally review the purpose of the levy system and its impact on good firms. The system is not working and fundamentally impacts on firm's ability to invest in their businesses and enhance services to clients.

 Our member firms do not advocate a no default supervisory regime and recognise the benefits to consumer confidence that FSCS provides, however, there is a failure in the system and these costs are simply not sustainable. Our research shows that the bills are already such that are firms are at breaking point.”

 PIMFA also highlighted that FSCS is budgeting for a levy of £635 million for 2020/21 compared to the final levy of £548 million for 2019/20. The Annual Funding requirement for FCA in 2019/20 is £558.5 million so, broadly, the cost of running the FCA is the same as the compensation costs paid by firms.

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