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The regulatory treadmill

Roger Anderson&#39s article (Money Marketing, January 24) prompts the thought how did we get where we are and how do we untie the knot?

The FSA was originally sold on the basis that heavy regulation would engender consumer confidence and bring about increased business flow as markets became cleaner

Recent evidence suggests the result is just the opposite. Far from London attracting new investment, less stringently regulated centres like Bermuda collect the capital.

When Roger first burst into print, regulation was a footnote. Now in the UK there is little other hard news. Why has regulation expanded?

First of all there have been serious divisions recently revived among practitioners over changes in polarisation. Some of your correspondents have shown an interest in a trade union to represent them.

Unity is strength and is a feature of strong trade unions. There is a failure to grasp what we all have in common – talking with clients about financial management. The different methods used in a hard marketplace to achieve solutions are highlighted as divisive.

There is a trade union – Amicus, the second biggest in the UK – which has a professional sales arm.

The word “sales” is also alleged to be divisive but everyone has to sell themselves to get a hearing, sell a service to survive and a product or advice to prosper. That is a creative process quite foreign to office-bound regulators who do not have to risk capital to stay in a job and should not be trying to reduce everyone to the minimum wage.

Second, there has been a serious misjudgement about the power of government. The present Government is in power based on a positive vote by only 25 per cent of the electorate. It rules without having to take serious account of anyone else&#39s views.

Policies are imposed from the centre based on a huge majority in Parliament with the result that ministers like Ruth Kelly, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, with little experience of financial services, propose to reconstruct a 300-year-old industry.

The script will be written by the Treasury which should not be meddling with commerce at all. This leads to bad government, bad governors and a total mess like the FSA. We need a reform of the voting system to bring all experience to bear in policymaking.

The plus side is that we are not the only people who suffer from big majority government. There are allies out there for the seeking whose businesses also suffer from bad government. We will not win the battle fighting alone but we can make a start by getting more united.

Roy Bennett

Hackbridge, Surrey


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