Financial Services Authority still here despite Cameron’s promises

David Cameron had promised to abolish the Financial Services Authority, FSA, if he became Prime Minister but despite this vow the FSA remains the regulating authority for the financial services industry here. It is supposed to give protection to people receiving financial advice in the country.

British expatriates can be subject to poor financial advice and are particularly vulnerable as  rules relating to the financial services industry differ from country to country. The products  and  any  beneficial  financial solutions may also be different to what they are accustomed to in their home country. It is difficult therefore to  judge  a person and the financial advice given in another country.

In the European Economic area there is a clear path for expatriates to follow to ensure that any financial advice they receive has emanated from reliable and controlled sources. This is very good news for the expatriate but he does need to follow some simple rules and use common sense when dealing with any financial advisor. The expatriate must ensure the advisor is qualified and regulated and possesses some experience in finance.

A European Union law known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, has been devised to bring about agreement in terms of investment services regulations throughout the 30 member states of the European Economic Area. This includes all European Union members as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Part of this Directive concerns what is known as passporting and it is this concept the expatriate needs to become familiar with as it sets out how a financial advisor is controlled. It sets out guidelines for the advisor to follow when conducting financial services  through the European Economic Area and is authorised by a single member country within the Union.

Any independent Financial Advisor , based in the EEA, should be registered within a European country. Countries most commonly used for registration purposes are Germany, Iceland and Belgium. Other member countries consider them to have the best control procedures in place. Once registered the advisor may proceed and commence operating as a Financial Advisor. They may advise expatriates even in other member states.

Any potential investor is quite entitled to question the credentials of the Advisor and it is essential for the investor to establish the registration of the Advisor. Registration checks can be confirmed on the web pages of the financial services authority of the country concerned.

The United Kingdom is considered a world leader in terms of financial qualifications by many other member states and many financial industry people have qualified here before moving abroad to continue with their trade. Recognised financial diplomas and other qualifications are obtained  through numerous institutions and include The Chartered Institute of Bankers, the Personal Finance Society and the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Depending on the experience of the Advisor it is likely that he has a testimonial list of genuine and satisfied customers. Many of the larger brokerage companies provide their agents with references and the customer is quite at liberty to check these independently.

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