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The FSA is polarised over polarisation

The FSA is understood to be deeply divided on the issue of polarisation, with the regulator split into two camps fighting over whether polarisation should be scrapped or not.

Heated discussions are believed to have taken place following the publication of the FSA-commissioned study on polar- isation by London Economics last month.

Those at the regulator in favour of replacing the current regime with multi-ties are said to see polarisation as anti-competitive with no benefits at all. Their opponents argue that polarisation protects consumers and the IFA sector.

The anti-polarisation camp is understood to consist of the former Bank of England fraternity within the FSA and people who share the Treasury&#39s view. It is widely acknowledged that the Treasury favours overturning the status quo.

The advocates of polarisation come from the retail sector but one insider says they are “few in number”.

The FSA is said to be encouraging rapid respon-ses to the London Economics&#39 study so it can have an informed debate on the subject.

An industry source says: “There is a bit of a battle going on at the FSA. The people who take the purely anti-competitive stance want to get rid of polarisation but they ignore the benefits.”

FSA spokeswoman Jackie Blyth says: “Obviously, we are aware of the issue of polarisation but we are looking at feedback to the London Economics&#39 report before we make a recommendation.”

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