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FSA leading contender to take on Opra role

The FSA is understood to be the front runner to take over responsibility for employer-sponsored schemes from Opra, Money Marketing has learned.

Industry sources say the FSA is set to extend its domain by becoming the New Kind of Regulator first mooted by Alan Pickering in his pension simplification report which is under consultation as part of the Department for Work and Pensions&#39 Green Paper.

But Opra denies it is set to be absorbed into the FSA, which refuses to comment.

Such a decision would mark a U-turn for the DWP which supported continuing separation of the FSA and Opra in a review last year.

The FSA is already understood to be planning to bring several members of Opra&#39s staff on board to counter industry concerns that it lacks the experience and resources to administer occupational pensions at a time when schemes are experiencing record levels of underfunding.

A DWP spokesman says: “Until the end of the Green Paper consultation, we cannot comment.”

Newman Houghton & Co consultant David Brunning says: “I know Opra is going but it does not have to be replaced by a rulebook-thumping body like the FSA. I would rather see a new body with a similar philosophy to Opra, driven by principles rather than policy.”

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