What has happened to an industry that makes a massive contribution to the UK economy?
The CBI spelt it out recently in their comments that we are being battered by a tidal wave of regulation. A recent survey pointed out that on the mortgage front, 0.32 per cent of mortgages result in a complaint, so why is it necessary for the MCCB, which was doing a good job, to be disbanded in favour of the FSA? The costs outweigh the risks. The answer is – control and power.
The problem is that many in the industry have become paranoid in their enthusiasm for everything that is regulated.
The FSA sit in their offices in Canary Wharf just thinking of what new rules they can bring in to justify their existence. If a Conservative Government should take office and reduce their numbers or, hopefully, disband them altogether in favour of set legislation, they will no doubt scream from the rooftops that the consumer is being placed at risk. Of course, what they really mean is that their safe non-productive jobs will be at risk.
I have had regular communication with the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and there is little doubt that, once in office, we will see the unreasonable powers of the FSA reduced. This will benefit the financial services industry and ultimately the consumer who, under present costs and rules, will pay the bill.
The fact is that you can regulate non-stop but if someone is dishonest they will find a way around the rules based on clients’ lack of understanding.
Trust is all important and there will always be cases in any industry of misplaced trust and, when discovered, one can go to law, there are plenty of solicitors who operate on a no-fee, no-win basis.
Perhaps the FSA might listen to the industry before it and the public disappear under mountains of paper. There is going to be less choice as smaller companies find the costs too much to sustain.Will this benefit the public?