Held at Glaziers Hall London, this conference brought together leading names in the Alternative Investment industry to chair and debate the future of the industry post RDR.

Ashley Rigg, Director Global Edge:

“Ultimately the biggest risk with unregulated investments is that they blow up, leaving the consumer out of pocket and without recourse to FSCS. It almost goes without saying that the best way around this is to select only outstanding products, but this is easier said than done. During this conference we will hear how leading IFA’s go about product due diligence and also legal experts and insurers will share practical tips on selection and risk assessment”.

Guy Tolhurst chaired a Regulation round table discussion and was joined on the panel by Natasha Peacock, Director Regulatory Legal Solicitors, Jon Chadwick, Director LuddintonBroze, Alistair Burns, Director Tailormade Alternative Investments Ltd and Kevin Jack,  Director SIPP Investment Platform.

The session covered FSA concerns on UCIS, Best Practice and Statutory requirements when working with unregulated funds and also the widely debated grey areacurrently concerning the role of ‘Non-advice’. Guy asked Natasha Peacock what her advice was for IFA’s who are considering working on a non-advice basis:

“In typical legal style, my answer very much depends on what the IFA, or in fact an unregulated firm, is doing which amounts to non-advice.

To try to make it simple and to answer the question, for an IFA firm, their non-advice activity could fall into 3 categories:

  • Direct marketing – where you issue a promotion to a client which the client can sign up and invest in
  • Marketing – where you issue the client with teasers which prompts them to contact you for advice OR
  • Execution only – where the client does not seek nor receive advice from you

Rightly or wrongly, the FSA is wary of IFA firms who claim to conduct non-advised business, so make sure that you are clear about what it is that you are doing and that your processes are documented and followed by your staff.  The divide between advice and non-advice is a very tricky area and a client’s signature on a disclaimer may not be enough for FOS or for the FSA.

The FSA checks up on the amount of execution only business a firm does as well and high volumes of execution only business could cause the FSA to raise an eyebrow or two and may result in a visit from the FSA.

Where an unregulated firm is introducing or promoting investments to regulated firms, they need to ensure that their activities do not stray across the regulatory perimeter.”

Also represented at the Conference were product providers Food Water & Energy with SCS Farmland,  Fine Wine PCC for Bordeaux, FIM Sustainable Timber and Energy LP, Green Oil Plantations, Pierre Vacances (CenterParcs Group) and The Resort Group.

Speakers included Justin Uquhart Stewart, Director and co-founder of Seven Investment Management, Lisa Best, Investment Services Director of Citadel Trustees Limited and Richard Gough, Director Chartered Financial Planner at Castlecourt.

Alongside Global Edge and Intelligent Partnership as sponsors of the event were Halo Financial, Oxford Insurance Brokers and Aura Consulting.

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