SRA make decision on financial advisors

SRA make decision on financial advisors

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is to recommend to its Board that solicitors be allowed to refer clients to any financial adviser, regardless of whether or not they are tied to particular institution.

FSA regulations on advisers are due to change at the end of the year and on 28 November the SRA board will meet to discuss the best way forward.

Solicitors often refer clients to these advisers to provide financial services, and provisions in the SRA Code of Conduct lay out the rules for these instances.

The SRA launched a consultation on independent financial advisers in July which closed on September 10.

Since closing the authority has been analysing responses, and will advise Board to move to the preferred option, option 3, as listed in the consultation document.

They are recommending amending the Code of Conduct’s Outcome (6.3) allowing solicitors to put clients "in a position to make informed decisions about referrals in respect of investment advice".

With the FSA Code changing, the SRA Code needs to change too, and the consultation looked at the options for amending the duties expressed as outcomes in chapter 6.

The SRA needs to ensure that best outcomes for clients are achieved and there is a risk that only allowing solicitors to refer to those advisers deemed "independent" might be contrary to that aim.

Agnieszka Scott, SRA Director of Policy, said: "We had an excellent response to our consultation and we’d like to thank all those who responded.

"We’ve taken on board the comments received, some of which have given us food for thought.

"However, nothing has changed us from our belief that the best way forward is to implement our preferred option, option 3, and that’s what we’ll be recommending to the Board.

“This represents the best fit with outcomes-focused regulation as solicitors, as highly qualified professionals, would be free to assess and discuss clients’ needs, not be restricted by a prescriptive rule."

The Board papers can be accessed here.

The consultation is can be accessed here.

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