FCA announces the names of firms who have participated in the Advice Unit and publishes the FAMR baseline report

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced the names of firms who have participated in the Advice Unit.

The Advice Unit was established in 2016 following a recommendation from the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) to provide regulatory feedback to firms developing automated advice and discretionary investment management models. The Advice Unit is open to applications from firms of all sizes, whether new start-ups or large firms, provided they meet our eligibility criteria.

There have been two cohorts of firms who have participated in the Advice Unit so far.

Ten firms were accepted in Summer 2016:

evestor, FinEx Capital Management, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Money Guidance, Mortimer Mackenzie Ltd, National Westminster Bank Plc, Nationwide Building Society, True Potential Investments, Santander

The second group of seven firms joined in early 2017:

1825 (part of the Standard Life group), Direct Life & Pension Services Limited, Investec Click & Invest, Moneyfarm, Multiply.ai, Personal Touch Financial Services Limited, WealthKernel

Changes in the Advice Unit

The FCA also announced today the expansion of the scope of the Advice Unit so it will now take in firms developing automated advice models within the mortgage, general insurance and debt advice sectors.

The Advice Unit will also now accept firms that want to provide guidance instead of regulated advice as well as firms not intending to seek authorisation.

The application process is also changing so that the Advice Unit will now be accepting applications from firms throughout the year, rather than on a cohort basis.

FAMR Baseline Report

The FCA has also today published the FAMR Baseline Report. 

The Baseline Report has identified three main themes to measure the development of the market. They are accessibility, affordability and quality of advice. These will be tracked on an annual basis and results will be published on the FCA website. The baseline findings will be used as a benchmark to assess the outcomes of FAMR when conducting the review in 2019.

The FCA has also confirmed that the Post-Implementation Review of the Retail Distribution Review, scheduled for 2017, will now be combined with the 2019 FAMR review. This will allow the market time to react to the regulatory change from both FAMR and MiFID II and also allow the FCA to make best use of its resources and minimise the reporting burden on firms.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

“The Advice Unit’s initial work, including the support it has provided to firms, has shown its potential and the changes announced today present a further opportunity to widen consumer access to financial advice and guidance across a broader range of sectors.

Notes to editors

  1. The Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) was launched jointly by the FCA and HM Treasury in August 2015 to identify ways in which the government, industry and regulators could take collective steps to stimulate the development of a market which delivers affordable and accessible financial advice and guidance to everyone, at all stages of their lives.
  2. The FAMR report was published in March 2016 and made a series of recommendations to help the market work better for consumers. One of the recommendations was for the FCA and HM Treasury to work to develop an appropriate baseline and indicators to monitor the development of the financial advice market.
  3. The Advice Unit is part of FCA Innovate. Find out more about FCA Innovate.
  4. The FAMR Baseline Report.
  5. Click here to submit an application and our eligibility criteria.
  6. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  7. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  8. Find out more information about the FCA.