FSA criticised for research uncertainty

Angela Faherty

June 17, 2006

Speaking this week at the FSA Retail Intermediaries Sector Conference in Birmingham, Stephen Bland, retail intermediaries sector leader and director of the small firms division at the FSA, revealed details of its commissioned research into the future of the general insurance, financial adviser, and mortgage markets by KPMG.

Looking into the research, Jeremy Oakley, director of transaction services, strategic and commercial intelligence at KPMG, highlighted two contrasting scenarios for both the general insurance and adviser market, while its research only proposed one scenario for the mortgage market. He also refused to put a time-scale on the scenario studies.

A source, who attended the event, said: “The day served very little purpose. The FSA spent a lot of money on the research, but the date was unclear, so not much can really be done from an intermediaries’ point of view. The cost of the KPMG research and scenario reviews cannot have been cheap, and I think the money could have been put to better use elsewhere. The FSA said it would be doing further reviews, but this one does not seem to have helped at all.”

He added his belief that the FSA was pushing certain agendas while steering clear of others. He explained: “The FSA seemed intent on pushing certain product and market areas, and staying out of others as part of its conference. It seemed keen to push mortgage networks and their future in the market, but the breakout session audience did not have any appointed representatives (ARs) in it.”

However Bland argued the research helped map the future of the three sectors. He said: “It is better to debate without settling, than to settle without debating.”

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