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Going Dutch could be a fair deal with FSA

Perhaps the industry needs a little bit of Dutch courage in its dealings with the regulator.

Liberal Democrat shadow chief secretary Chris Huhne has floated an idea adopted in the Netherlands for an independent agency to scrutinise the regulators and report to Parliament on their impact.

Huhne, a former MEP, says he has been told the system which also involves the use of sunset clauses to reapprove legislation periodically, is working well.

Many in the UK have misgivings about the aloofness of the FSA – and not just from what the FSA attempts to argue are its full-time critics.

There is a fierce debate raging over treating customers fairly and whether it is simply a mechanism for treating the industry unfairly. The FSA says TCF is not some arbitrary concept but has argued the case in an authoritarian and unyielding way.

With the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal fulfilling a very specific function and the practitioner panel lacking teeth, perhaps it is time the political parties considered the case for this sort of agency. It would be interesting to hear what arguments can be deployed against it.

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