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Brave FSA is big enough to own up to mistakes

In the last few days, the FSA has learned to admit it can get things wrong, the significance of which should not be underestimated by IFAs.

It is to the credit of the regulator and the Treasury that some clarity has been injected into the account of events leading up to Equitable&#39s closure to new business and subsequent advice given to policyholders.

The Treasury, after some initial reluctance, has decided it is better to get the report into the public domain many months before the more broad-based Penrose inquiry completes its work.

The FSA has also shown itself prepared to take criticism on the chin, with chairman Howard Davies taking a cut in his bonus – although many may argue he should have lost it all – because of the regulator&#39s mishandling of the situation.

Of course, honesty in itself will not heal the wounds of Equitable policyholders or its ailing life fund or even make a start on returning the life office to some semblance of normality. That must wait for a deal agreed by all policyholders and no one seriously believes that even if the vote goes the way the new board would like it to, that this will be the last we hear of the issue.

The vote could be closer than many people think despite Equitable&#39s polling evidence, while there will surely be years of litigation to follow. But the publication of the report and subsequent response is a sign that the FSA may be maturing as an organisation as it approaches N2.

It might even clear the way for more brave decisions which could bring advice back into the heart of financial services policy where it belongs.


Self interest

In the mortgage industry, there is one strong theme that runs through all the regulatory moves of the past few years – from the mortgage code and compulsory qualifications for advisers through to the FSA taking over full regulatory powers by the end of August 2002 – and that is the concept of “responsible lending”.When […]

Five-year ban on genetic test results

The use of all genetic test results by life offices is to be banned for five years in an agreement announced this week between the ABI and the Government.In response to the Parlia-mentary science and technology committee&#39s report on the use of tests by life offices for underwriting life and protection products, the Department of […]

MP in &#39igroup secret commission&#39 claim

Sub-prime lender igroup has been slammed in the House of Commons by Labour MP Barry Gardiner over claims of secret commission on past loan contracts.In a Commons debate last week, Gardiner urged DTI minister Melanie Johnson to meet with igroup owner GE Capital over allegations of undisclosed commission on the lender&#39s previous loan contracts and […]

Schroder secures growth

Schroder Unit Trusts has designed a capital protected fund that is linked to the Eurostoxx 50 index over a term of five years and two months.Schroder secure growth formula is a Dublin-based closed-ended fund that invests in bonds and derivatives to provide capital protection. Investors get their original capital back at the end of the […]

Welcome to The Brunner Investment Trust PLC

Welcome to the latest update for The Brunner Investment Trust PLC from the trust’s portfolio manager Lucy Macdonald. Market Review Global equities ratcheted higher throughout February, buoyed by optimism about global growth and corporate earnings. All regions advanced, although Japan tended to lag many other markets. In sector terms, healthcare, information technology, consumer staples and […]


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