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Boleat to take on chasers

Ex-ABI chief will work part-time and says claim firms and advisers that dodge regulation will be prosecuted

Former director general of the ABI Mark Boleat has been put in charge of regulating claim-chasing firms but will only work part-time with a 1m budget.

Boleat wrote a report ear-lier this year slamming trade body the Claims Standards Council’s credentials as a regulator.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs has given him responsibility for implementing statutory regulation contained in the Compensation Bill, which is set to become law this week.

Boleat will oversee a monitoring and compliance unit run by one of the UK’s local trading standards offices.

Under the legislation, claim-chasers will need to be authorised, have professional indemnity cover and capital adequacy and undergo background checks.

The authorisation process will start in November, with a deadline for applications in February next year. Boleat says firms which dodge regulation, including IFA firms that introduce business to claims chasers, will face prosecution.

Industry sources say that Boleat may be the ideal candidate for the role but they are concerned about its part-time nature, limited budget, the tiered system and the use of an as yet undecided locally based trading standards office to regulate the whole of the UK.

Boleat says: “Much of our work will be to ensure that those firms which are authorised are still complying with the rules but firms that fail to register, even after they have been given a warning, will be prosecuted.”

Anand Associates James Brooke says: “It sounds like the new structure will be as efficient at regulating claim-chasers as the Home Office has been at deporting illegal immigrants that have spent time in jail.

“There is a lack of joined-up thinking here. Since the FSA is regulating advisers, it should also regulate claim-chasers that are claiming that advisers gave poor advice.”

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