The Financial Services Authority has confirmed it will merge the customer functions in its approved persons regime into a single category, saving firms a total of £1m a year.
The FSA published proposals to create a new generic customer function in August 2006 as a way to reduce the number of forms firms have to submit per employee under the approved persons regime.
In a paper published today, the FSA says it has received strong support from the industry for the proposals, as they are designed to bring administrative savings and flexibility for firms.
In particular, the change eliminates the need for firms to submit a form when an employee already approved for a customer function within that firm, for example investment advice, wants to move between customer functions or add a customer function to one already held, such as advising on pension transfers.
However, the employee must still be competent to perform any new activity and the FSA says merging the functions does not give the employee the green light to advise on activities without considering the training and competence requirements.
The merger will come into effect on 1 November 2007 at the same time as other Handbook changes relating to the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).
David Kenmir, managing director of regulatory services at the FSA, says: "Through our Handbook review programme and as part of our Better Regulation agenda, the FSA is removing regulations whose costs outweigh the benefits they bring. The merger of customer functions will save firms a further £1 million a year."
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