The FSA has refused to release details of legal advice it received over the 15-year long stop, arguing that it could be used against the Financial Ombudsman Service in any future judicial review.
In April, the regulator conducted an internal review of its decision to deny a freedom of information request for the FSA legal counsel’s opinion on the long stop. It concluded that the decision to withhold the information was correct.
A letter from FSA information protection officer Philip Robinson, seen by Money Marketing, states: “Public disclosure of the FSA’s advice would be likely to be prejudicial to the FOS in any future judicial review of their decisions in that possible arguments against the FOS’s position would be available to their opponents while their opponents would not be obliged to reveal their legal advice to the FOS.”
Money Marketing revealed last week that the joint committee on human rights chairman Andrew Dismore has written to City minister Lord Myners demanding to know why the FSA will not introduce a 15-year long stop for advisers.
Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “This is a substantial admission because the purpose of the judicial rev-iew would be to determine the lawfulness of the decision or action taken by the FOS. The FSA is clearly stating that the release of opinion from their counsel would prove damaging to the FOS in assembling their arguments within a judicial review.”
The FSA was unavailable for comment.