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Some advisers prepared to operate unregistered: Stevens

Just one day before the new adviser regulations come into force some advisers plan to continue in business unregistered and “wait and see what happens”, according to Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO) Karen Stevens.

Thursday, June 30th 2011, 7:15AM

"While some people haven't been aware of it, or they haven't got round to it or they've put it off, we have had filter back that some of the advisers have simply just decided not to register and they're going to wait and see what happens," she said.

As part of the registration process all advisers are also required to be a member of a disputes resolution scheme such as the ISO, and Stevens said she was surprised by the last minute rush she had seen from advisers to sign up.

"We thought that everybody was in as at April 1, [the registration deadline for financial advisers] and we hadn't anticipated a last minute dash but we've had one. We've had a number of people ringing to say I'm not registered, what can I do? That's a bit scary."

Stevens said she believed the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) would "come down reasonably hard" on advisers they found working past the July 1 deadline without the proper registration.

"The FMA have made it quite clear to us they want to be seen to be serious about what they're doing and they will take action where they see breaches," she said.

"They're not to be trifled with."

Stevens belief that the FMA would take action seemed to be borne out by comments made by the regulators chief executive Sean Hughes.

He said the advice industry had suffered from a "perception there are too many cowboys out there" and that from July 1, the FMA would take swift action against anyone in breach of the rules.

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