The Financial Services Practitioner Panel is launching the first stage of its 2006 survey of regulated firms to obtain an industry assessment of the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The survey, which is carried out every two years, aims to gather industry views on the FSA and establish a track record of the regulator’s performance.
The Panel says previous surveys achieved a high response rate and provided “robust feedback” from the financial services industry, which has been taken on board in a “positive manner” by the FSA.
It adds the feedback has “had a considerable impact on front-line FSA policy decision making and its regulatory operation generally”.
For example, major issues emerging from the 2004 survey – the ever-increasing cost of regulation, the treatment of smaller firms and the sheer volume of consultation papers – are now prioritised more appropriately on the regulatory agenda and progress is being made in these and other areas, says the Panel.
In particular, it claims the FSA – in partnership with the Panel – is part way through a study to quantify regulatory costs and identify areas where those costs might not be justified by the benefits they aim to secure.
The survey will be divided into qualitative and quantitative stages, with the qualitative phase - involving a series of interviews with senior FSA staff and senior staff from a cross-section of regulated firms - commencing shortly.
As well as providing useful feedback and context, the Panel says the qualitative phase will be used to help identify issues for inclusion in the quantitative questionnaire which will be sent to firms in the summer.
While the intention is to include mortgage and general insurance firms in the study, the Panel states this will be done in such a way as to reflect their “newness” to FSA regulation and to facilitate like-for-like tracking and analysis of the pre-existing population.
The Panel plans to publish the final report findings later in 2006 and will use the information to inform subsequent discussions with the FSA.
Roy Leighton, chairman of the Panel, says: “The period since the last survey in 2004 has been challenging for the industry and also one of transition. This survey will be something of an acid test, and will give the regulated community a timely and valuable opportunity to say whether the shape and nature of FSA regulation is – or is not - moving in the right direction.”
In particular, Leighton says the survey will measure the success of the FSA’s major restructuring exercise and establish whether the regulator is now seen as a more efficient and effective organisation.
He adds: “The FSA is publicly committed to Better Regulation and to making itself ‘easier to do business with’ - this research will invite practitioners to say whether these commitments to change are indeed being delivered."
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