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Web plans open door to Europe

IFAs will be able to conduct business over the web anywhere in the EU using their FSA authorisation if Treasury proposals released this week are implemented.

The Treasury has released a paper, Implementation of the E-Commerce Directive in Financial Services, which discusses ways to put into practice the EU directive aimed at facilitating a Europe-wide market for internet business.

It states that any financial services provider operating in another nation will be able to do so according to the regulations of their base country.

This means IFAs could offer online advice to anyone in the EU without seeking new authorisation from the financial regulator in that country.

But European financial services providers will be able to operate more easily in the UK, something they have had difficulty in doing because of the UK&#39s regulatory regime.

A Treasury spokeswoman says changes resulting from the directive must be in place by next spring. Following that, the FSA will have to consult on any accompanying changes to its rulebook.

Syndaxi Financial Planning principal Robert Reid says: “I think there are more opportunities available to IFAs in the UK than there are for others trying to break into the UK.”

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “This will affect anyone who offers e-commerce services. It states that a UK intermediary could offer advice across Europe using the rules they are governed by in their country.”

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