...read Jackart's screed on the increasing and pointless admininistrative burden imposed by the FSA on individual brokers. Go read the whole thing.
I would wholeheartedly endorse Jackart's blog on this subject. Having myself taken exams from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment in the past, they are clearly designed to force the student (or the financial institution for which they work) to purchase the textbooks and attend their taught courses in preparation for the exams, because the pointless minutae and badly phrased questions mean that even a background in financial services won't help you that much in the exam. They had some of the worst course material I've seen - and believe me, I've seen some pretty bad things. (For reference I passed first time, but I'm good at memorising pointless crap. I have no illusions that this made me a better financial advisor.)
As Jackart notes pithily:
It [the Retail Distribution Review] will virtually ban those on average earnings from receiving decent financial advice. They will be driven instead into the arms of the Banks who will sell them "products" whose performance is utterly opaque, larded with fees which will be virtually impossible to get out of. The banks will call this "advice", but you will never see or hear from the hair-gel and bri-nylon school-leaver who sold you the "product", ever again.This was a perfect example, and sadly far from the first, of the insecurities and political position of the FSA being shamelessly used by the vested interests (the CISI, for instance) to drive trade to themselves. It'll be interesting to see if the Bank of England can regulate any better, since at least they should be a little bit less insecure. I don't hold out much hope, however.