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Election could delay FSSC bid

Financial Services Skills Council interim chief executive Liz Field is concerned that a decision on the council’s bid for relicensing may be delayed until after the general election.

It was denied a new licence by the Government in May, with Skills Secretary John Denham saying the body “did not meet the standard required”.

The FSSC conducted a strategic review and made its submission for relicensing in September to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It was expecting a decision in early March.

Field says she is confident the council’s bid will be successful but it has to be signed off by eight ministers.

She says: “If that is not done by the time they call a general election, the ministers will go into purdah and it will have to wait until after the election.”

The Government is expected to call a general election as early as next week.

Field is hoping that the result of the bid will be announced imminently. She says: “There is always that niggling doubt that it might not get done in time but I am an optimistic person and I am hoping to hear the result any day now.”

Lansons director of regulatory consulting Richard Hobbs says while ministers are known to push through sign-offs ahead of a general election, any decisions could be overruled after the election.

He says: “There is some risk mitigation in getting the relicensing signed off before the general election but that does not bind new ministers to the decision.”

Field says following the publication of the final QCF level four exam standards at the end of this month, the FSSC will support the FSA in the approval process of qualifications developed by exam providers.

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