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Regulate the regulator, says Kennedy

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy wants to cut the burden of red tape for small businesses by establishing an independent body to regulate the FSA.

Speaking at a business forum hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales this week, Kennedy pledged to help SMEs escape red tape and bureaucracy.

Kennedy said he intends to champion an independent centre for regulatory assessment that would force the regulator and Whitehall to jump through hoops to prove that implementation of new regulation is worthwhile.

Regulatory bodies including the FSA and Inland Revenue would have to show cost analysis and benefits of proposed regulation before implementation.

The speech marked a rare intervention in financial services on the part of Kennedy. The last time he criticised the FSA was in January 2001 over its handling of Axa&#39s orphan assets and Equitable Life.

Kennedy said: “There is an increasing sense of regulation acting as a disincentive to businesses, an accumulation of work from the Chancellor. The business community as a whole has been overburdened with red tape and bureaucracy. There is a need for an independent centre for regulatory assessment.”

FSA spokesman Robin Gordon-Walker says: “I should point out that we are already very highly accountable in various ways, including accountability to Parliament, to the Government, who appoint our board, and through annual reports and open meetings. We get strong input from consumers and the industry and it is a statutory requirement to consult on all rules and regulation and produce feedback.”


Recent with-profits policyholders can reconsider – Standard Life

Mutual insurer Standard Life has revealed policyholders who have taken out with-profits policies since November 16 will have the chance to reconsider in the light of yesterday&#39s announcements. It has said it will be writing to policyholders who have taken out with-profits policies in the current financial year “to offer them the chance to reconsider, […]

Asset allocation puzzles three-quarters of savers

Nearly three-quarters of investors do not understand the meaning of asset allocation, says JP Morgan Fleming. In a survey of 578 savers and investors, only 27 per cent correctly defined asset allocation as the way in which a portfolio is spread across different types of investment. Nine per cent thought it referred to borrowing money […]

Get ready for electronic reporting

In my last column, I focused on the achievements we have seen in industry e-commerce over the last year and looked forward to some of the benefits it would be reasonable to expect to arrive during 2004. If the business efficiencies achievable as a result of many of the new services are not sufficient to […]

Abbey consolidates 40 customer service centres

Abbey has finalised details of its strategic review, aimed at improving customer service and boosting the efficiency of its operations through concentrating on larger customer service centres.Abbey is slashing its 40 UK service sites to move to five major locations in which there will be £25m invested over the next three years. These are in […]


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