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57% see emergence of European super-regulator

Most IFAs believe they will be under the jurisdiction of a European super-regulator for financial services within five years.

The State of the Nation poll found that 57 per cent of IFAs believe that UK financial services would be controlled by a European authority by 2008 but 40 per cent were not convinced this would happen and 3 per cent were undecided.

In addition to pan-European financial groups such as Axa and Aviva, both the Treasury and the FSA are broadly in favour of a more integrated European market. This Euro vision for the future is shared with reservations by Treasury Economic Secretary Ruth Kelly, who has voiced her support for a number of interlinked regulators rather than a single body.

Incremental legislation following the Maastricht treaty in 1992 has allowed for a slow build-up towards centralised regulation in Europe. The FSA says UK mortgages could be regulated by the European Commission as soon as 2006.

The ABI carried out research last October on all its member companies, canvassing the opinion of 81 chief executives. Fifty-eight per cent were against any form of single European legislator.

ABI spokeswoman Leonie Edwards says: “We take the possibility of a European regulator seriously but as a very long-term prospect. With 10 more countries about to join the 15 existing EU members if and when a joint financial services regulator did occur, it would need to ensure very close co-operation with each country involved.”

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