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Deadline is looming for contentious FSA bill

Next Tuesday sees the third and final day of the report stage for the

controversial Financial Services and Markets Bill.

It is the last day for amendments to be raised to the bill in the House of

Lords, which has taken nearly two years to reach this stage. It is expected

to receive Royal Assent in late June or early July.

Aifa chairman and Tory peer Lord Hunt of Wirral is one of many peers

concerned about the ambig- uity and vagueness that he feels exists in some

parts of the bill.

Hunt says: “There are parts of the bill that are clearly ambiguous and

there are parts that are still defective. It has become the last-minute

bill.”

He is planning to table an amendment to clarify the role of the ombudsman

whose responsibility is to investigate consumer complaints against

financial services providers. While he is in full support of the concept of

the ombudsman as an alternative to the courts, Hunt thinks the role of the

investigator is not defined clearly enough in the bill.

The bill creates the regulatory regime under which the FSA will operate.

The FSA is presently operating under the legislation governing the eight

regulators that preceded it.

There has been much controversy from the City and the Opposition parties.

Hundreds of amendments to the legislation at the two previous days of

report in the Lords. It is expected there will be more to come before next

Tuesday.

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