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ABI takes a step forward to merger with the banks

The ABI and the British Bankers&#39 Association have come one step closer to merging, commissioning a joint study on the merits of becoming one body.

The governing bodies of both organisations say external consultants have been given the task of examining the practicalities of a merger and they hope to have the findings by the end of the summer.

If the report is favourable, the merger could happen before the end of the year.

The ABI and BBA have for some time been debating the pros and cons of forming a single body which they hope will represent a wider span of the financial services sector.

IFAs say they are not surprised by the timing of the move after the FSA published CP121 last month with its proposals for scrapping polarisation. They claim the banks are eager to have a joint body to ensure they are in the best position to take advantage of a change to the rules.

A joint statement from the organisations says: “They see strong merit in principle in such a development but wish to examine the practicalities in much more detail before making any recommendation to their members.”

Roberts Clark director Jo Roberts says: “Both bodies are positioning themselves so they can move quickly once the results of the polarisation review are known. The banks need to get their position correct from the start and will probably be the major contributors to the new body.”

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