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Treasury brings Christmas cheer

Christmas has come a little early with Treasury plans to regulate all mortgage and insurance advice. In keeping with the season, we must say well done, Treasury.

CP98 for mortgages will be abandonned and the General Insurance Standards Council will wind down. Few will mourn the passing of CP98&#39s recipe for driving IFAs out of the mortgage market. As for the GISC, it really was just another aggravation for the regulated sector.

There are still concerns that for the sake of neatness some products may have been included unnecessarily. There will also be cost implications or why else were plans being hatched for non-regulated networks?

We hope costs can be minimised but in the meantime our polling suggests a broad welcome from IFAs. The decision tells us a lot about the regulatory pecking order. The insurance move was forced by the European Union&#39s insurance intermed-iaries directive. Europe&#39s impact will grow.

The mortgage decision came partly as a result of a report by economist DeAnne Julius which criticised the failure to regulate mortgage advice. Future reports, say, Ron Sandler&#39s, may also be difficult to ignore.

Finally, Howard Davies flagged the mortgage decision a few weeks ago. Davies has also flagged wholesale changes to polarisation. It may prove irresistable to create one regime for all regulated advice and that is unlikely to move in favour of polarisation, maybe even using Europe as an excuse.

Still, let us hope the meddling stops at least until the new year. As for next year&#39s theme, we can confidently predict it will be distribution, just as it was this year. But MM suggests you forget about this for a few weeks. In the meantime, Merry Christmas.

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