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Consumer panel chairwoman tells of &#39uneasy&#39 relationship with regulator

The FSA&#39s consumer panel will champion the consumer cause even if it strains its relationship with the FSA, according to panel chairwoman Barbara Saunders.

Saunders was speaking at the first FSA AGM last week. Her comments come as it is revealed the consumer panel has recently appointed a spokesman from outside the FSA to speak on its behalf.

Saunders said the regulator will have to explain its reasons in writing when it disagrees with the panel on policy and she said this relationship is not always easy.

She has criticised the Government for leaving advice out of mortgageregulation.

On the subject of mortgage regulation, she said the failure to include advice in the Treasury&#39s proposals had caused the panel concern because it was essential for the FSA to be in a position to regulate the market effectively. She first made her views on advice known in the panel&#39s annual survey earlier this month.

The panel, which meets 10 times a year, was set up in November 1998 to “ensure the FSA is asking the right questions and doing research early on”. Its 11 members have a wide range of experience in various areas, including consumer and money advice and complaints&#39 handling and enforcement.

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