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Euro rule gets my vote over the FSA

So, execution-only sales could disappear and Hargreaves Lansdown is spitting its dummy out in righteous indignation (Money Marketing, November 21).

The FSA says it will argue against this as “it does not take home market models into account”. The pre-CP121 polarised UK market was initially attacked by the FSA on the basis that it was different from other EU markets. It did not take the EU long to clarify that a defined-payment system could be fees or commission.

I agree with the strong words from internal market commissioner Fritz Bolkestein. Investors of any sort need advice and advisers must be responsible for advice given.

IFAs should be able to take comfort from and investors have faith in a regulatory regime that provides clear guidelines. Sadly, the UK regulator has provided neither. Its focus seems not to be on what is best for the consumer but on protecting the vested interests of big business.

If I am wrong, then how else can you explain Equitable Life, zeros, the savings gap and the soaring costs of PI for IFAs?

If Fritz Bolkestein is focusing on consumer protection and also wishes to provide a regulatory regime for IFAs “flexible enough to liberate reputable operators from the headache of 15 different sets of regulations” then he gets my vote.

I would also ask Mr Bolkestein to look at the legality of the UK regulator being the only one of the 15 EU financial services regulators, immune from normal legal process. I believe this places me and all other UK IFAs at a disadvantage compared with other UK and EU citizens.

Clive Hammond

Medical & Professional, Salisbury

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