TR13/5 – Supervising retail investment advice: how firms are implementing the RDR

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Six months after introducing the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), we are publishing our findings on how firms are approaching it.

Why are we publishing this Thematic Review (TR)?

We are currently doing a three-stage thematic review to assess investment advisory firms’ approaches to implementing the RDR. We have now completed the first stage and this report gives our findings.

We want to know where the industry is. Are independent services truly independent? Is the industry already providing the clear documents that clients need or is there, in some areas, more work to be done? So this should be read as an early report card for the industry, pointing to successes so they can be adopted as best practice elsewhere and, at the same time, indicating areas that could be improved.

Along with our consumer research, this report should provide the impetus needed for those firms who are not quite there yet.

Who is this TR aimed at?

This is for all firms who provide advice to retail clients on retail investment products, their trade bodies and consumer groups. It will also be relevant for anybody interested in how consumers are able to understand what firms charge and provide since the RDR changes came into force.  

What are the next steps?

We have provided feedback to those firms in our review, but all firms should ensure they are following our rules in these areas. We will carry out further assessments with a wider sample of firms from October 2013 to test whether firms have acted on our feedback.

This report serves as a reminder of the rules that firms should now be following, and – read with the consumer research – indicates what they need to do if they are not doing so already.

If firms are not complying with the RDR rules, we may take supervisory or, where appropriate, enforcement action. See our factsheet for help on identifying whether the issues we found are present in your firm.