The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says there may be ‘a few chinks of light' which may allow its members to avoid FSA regulatory requirements when selling insurance in the property or construction sector.
Following discussions with Treasury officials last week, RICS representatives say although there is no firm answer at this stage, the professional body is hoping to secure agreement which no longer requires its members be FSA registered in order to sell insurance products in specialist markets.
CEO Louis Armstrong argues its 85,000 chartered surveyors would be penalised financially and the market would see reduced competition if its small business members are required to meet FSA regulatory requirements for insurance sales when introduced from January 15, 2005.
Any attempts to give RICS members a ‘get-out’ clause could be difficult, however, as the FSA is required to implement general insurance regulation in line with EU legislation and the Insurance Mediation Directive.
From January next year, any firm offering insurance advice or services will be in breach of the regulations if they have not registered with the FSA, even if they are already working though a regulated insurance intermediary.
However, RICS argues the regulation is unnecessary, ‘bad for business’ and sees the FSA trying to regulate sectors which “it does not comprehend”.
The Treasury encountered similar arguments from the legal and chartered accountants profession when the FSA was officially formed on November 30th 2001 but were still required to obtain authorisation. That said, travel agents – who can sell travel insurance – have managed to avoid FSA regulation from January 15th, 2005. So do you agree with the RICS argument?
Are there grounds or circumstances under which insurance advisers should be exempt from FSA regulation, or should it be one rule for all?
If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, either email the editor or click thru to the IFAonline discussion board .
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