Moore Stephens: Brokers Must be Ready

Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Accountant and consultant Moore Stephens has warned that U.K. insurance intermediaries will have to ensure that they are well positioned to take their place in the new regulatory regime currently being formulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). A new FSA regulatory regime governing general insurance intermediaries will come into force in October 2004. There are still a number of unresolved questions involving the nature and extent of the new regulations, but the answers are expected to emerge over the coming months. What does seem certain, even now, is that the new regime will be much tougher than anything which went before it. The FSA has developed proposals under seven main headings - firm status disclosure, standards for advising and selling, standards for training and competence, product information measures, measures to ensure fair treatment of customers, standards for claims handling, and complaints. Writing in the latest edition of the Moore Stephens insured interest newsletter, partner Michael Butler says, "It seems that the FSA intends to exceed the minimum regulatory requirements mandated throughout the European Union under the Insurance Mediation Directive, which covers the activities of intermediaries and which will be implemented in the UK by the new FSA regime. So brokers and intermediaries have no time to lose in making sure that they understand the requirements that will be placed upon them, and that they are well-prepared to meet the FSA's demands. "The new FSA regime will impose on insurance intermediaries a much more onerous burden of regulatory compliance and risk management preparedness. For many, this will mean a complete change in the way they approach and conduct their business. The time to act is now. Those who hesitate may be lost to the industry for ever."

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