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Aifa waiting to see the effects of EU reshuffle

Experts believe the appointment of French EU commissioner Michel Barnier to the role of internal markets commissioner could have significant implications for the financial services industry.

Last week, the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso appoin-ted French agriculture minister Michel Barnier as the new internal market commissioner.

Barnier will take over from Ireland’s Charlie McCreevy while Olli Rhen from Finland has been given the financial and monetary affairs position. Rhen will take over from Spaniard Joaquin Almunia, who has moved to take up the competition brief.

The FSA will have to get a number of its retail distribution review proposals, such as those involving qualifications and remuneration, rubberstamped by the European Commission as they go beyond current European regulations.

It is understood the UK was pushing for financial services to be a separate dossier but the internal markets commissioner will continue to have this responsibility.

Aifa director Robert Sinclair says: “We are aware of the fact that the commission is already working on the markets in financial instruments directive, the insurance mediation directive and packaged retail investment products and we do not see that changing with this commissioner.

“What we may see, however, is a change of tone coming out of the commission but we will have to wait and see.”

Cicero Consulting director Iain Anderson says: “This is a very significant appointment for the UK financial sector. It will mean an intense period of lobbying in the next five years to ensure that the UK does not lose ground.”

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  1. This is simply posturing.

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