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Competitiveness could become FSA objective to deter gold-plating

The Conservatives are considering proposals to make competitiveness of financial services a statutory objective of the FSA to guard against the gold-plating of EU regulations and stick up for the industry’s interests internationally.

Speaking at a Reform and City of London fringe event on Monday, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said he was in discussions with a number of groups about adding competitiveness to the four current statutory objectives of the regulator.

He was addressing concerns about the effects of EU regulations and potential gold-plating by the UK regulator and suggested the new policy would be effective in allaying these worries.

Osborne has been guarded about potential Conservative policy at the conference and this is one of the few proposals – along with slashing stamp duty on shares – he has publicly indicated that the party is considering.

Shadow Treasury Financial Secretary Mark Hoban said it was a proposal that the party was looking at seriously and research and analysis would be conducted to assess the effect of such a move on UK competitiveness and consumer protection.

Hoban said there were some types of gold-plating, for example, rules on shareholder approval, that benefited the industry and made the UK attractive to fund managers and the Tories will look closely at which regulatory changes will benefit the economy and which damage it.

Osborne says: “One of the things we are looking at is whether the FSA should consider competitiveness of financial services alongside consumer protection, which is, of course, important.”

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