The FSA says it has undertaken preliminary work on the attribution of orphan assets and will consult on it in the summer.
In CP176, the regulator says it is developing open processes for policyholders affected by the attribution of orphan assets.
The move has come under fire from some critics, who say a transparent process is not enough and companies should be forced to attribute. But others say stockmarket difficulties mean insurers need the cushion afforded by orphan assets.
Prudential, Norwich Union and Legal & General all have large unattributed orphan estates, with the former two believed to be considering attributing their assets.
Consumers' Association senior policy adviser Mick McAteer says: “It is not going to make a blind bit of difference unless the Government and the FSA force the companies to do it.”
Chartwell director Patrick Connolly says: “If the FSA is going to set guidelines, that would be a good thing. If companies are allowed to hold on to orphan assets, restrictions should be put on their use.”