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Euro threat is hanging over us, says Thoresen

Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen says Mifid is a massive threat hanging over the financial services industry and providers and advisers cannot bury their heads in the sand.

At the Money Marketing Live roadshow in Manchester on Tuesday, Thoresen claimed Mifid represents a potential threat to the UK by restricting the steps that can be taken to reshape the regulation of the market to reform the current distribution model.

Thoresen said: “We are trying to make the European Commissioner understand that by constraining the selling side of the system you constrain the ability to achieve your objectives. There is a European threat that hangs over us. We cannot keep our heads down and hope it goes away.”

He proposes several solutions to fix the UK’s distribution model including the introduction of what he referred to as “appropriate regulation” but said Europe’s idea of appropriate regulation was more stringent than the UK’s.

In a meeting with Thoresen, the European Commissioner said that although the regulatory system in the wholesale market was good, the retail system was under-regulated.

Thoresen said Equitable Life remains a big issue for the European Commissioner in Brussels because it proved the UK’s solvency regulation was not robust enough at the time.

The European Parliament Committee which is investigating Equitable Life said UK regulation had been “light-touch” at the time of the Equitable crisis and that it was looking to see whether this had contributed.

Thoresen said: “For them, Equitable Life remains an issue because of what it tells you about solvency and solvency regulation in the UK.”

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