Last month we wrote about a change to the FCA Register which allowed consumers to search for an advisory firm by postcode. You can still read that article by clicking here.
The change was far from universally popular, with many advisers and planners pointing out flaws in the results.
We wanted to know more about the process the FCA followed in making the change, as well as the cost. We, therefore, submitted a Freedom of Information request. Here is the FCA’s response, which we received this afternoon.
The FCA Register has been recently updated to allow users to ‘Find an advice firm near me’. However, many financial advisers feel that the search results are flawed.
I would like the FCA to confirm:
- The date the Register was updated with the option to search by location
- The process which was undertaken to test the new search functionality
- The amount of money spent on making this change to the Register
- The number of regulated firms the FCA engaged with to test the search functionality before it was released in BETA on the site”
The FCA’s response:
Your request has now been considered and the relevant information is below.
For question 1, I can confirm that while the FS Register has been available to search by postcode for a number of years the ‘find me an adviser’ function went live on 24 September 2018.
For question 2, I can confirm that the new functionality added in September is a beta. This means that it is currently in its test phase and so the testing process is not yet complete. Feedback from users of the new facility is invited and it will be amended as appropriate as a result.
For question 3, I can confirm that this change is an addition rather than a change to the FS Register. All existing FS Register facilities remain available completely unchanged. To date the additional facility made available in September has cost £200,000.
For question 4, I can confirm that beta is one component of the response to that it is intended that the new facility is helpful primarily for consumers rather than for firms. There has been widespread comment over an extended period of time about the accessibility of the FS Register and this beta is one component of the response to that. The purpose of the beta is to test the functionality with users and its release marked the beginning of testing with users, including regulated firms.