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PPI firms left unsure after regulator meeting

Robyn Hall

February 28, 2013

The Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Services Authority met with 50 delegates from the industry to answer questions about the practical implications of the new rules.

Steve Devine, chairman of the protection market forum Protect, said: “People were looking for meaning behind the words but didn’t get it.”

Devine used the example of the FSA’s stipulation that any new product must deliver a “positive outcome”.

He said: “We asked for a more detailed definition of a positive outcome but the FSA were reluctant to provide one, however, should the product fail to deliver a positive outcome the soon-to-be formed Financial Conduct Authority will have the power to step in and suspend providers if they get it wrong.”

Devine said more conversations needed to be had with both the regulator, providers and distributors which hold real value – not just conversations that are “box ticking exercises”.

But not everyone shared Devine’s view that the meeting fell short of the mark.

Roger Humber, chief executive of PPL Protection products, was generally happy with the outcome of the discussion.

He said: “We have been working with the FSA for the last few years and we are definitely moving forward. I think the FSA and the OFT went out of their way to give providers as much help as possible but it is not the job of the regulator to provide a blue print for the design of payment insurance products.”

Humber said both regulators stressed they would be happy to talk through any doubts that providers may have with their new product ranges.

One point that united both Devine and Humber was frustration over the lack of public support from the FSA and OFT for payment protection insurance products.

Humber said that the production of guidance was welcome but the regulator was “sat on the fence” when it came to providing reassurance and confidence to the market about the safety and importance of the new wave of PPI products.

An FSA spokesman said: “We welcome the robust exchange of views. As with any rules or guidance we put out firms can approach supervisors with specific questions about their meaning or implications.”

A spokesman from the OFT said: “It is not our role to endorse products, we are here to set parametres to guide behaviours in the industry.”


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