The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) aim to reduce administrative burdens on firms through a joint Action Plan to be published by the end of April.
Improvements for firms and consumers also aim to assist in the delivery of risk-based regulation, thus building on the key objectives of the Hampton Report.
A footnote to the Hampton Report suggested transferring regulatory responsibility for consumer credit from the OFT to the FSA, but the government has announced today a significant better regulatory outcome is achievable without changing regulatory responsibility.
Improvements in the Action Plan include:
- Working more effectively together, for example through improved collaboration on matters of mutual interest such as the sale of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI);
- Collaborating more closely on enforcement of rules on advertising and other matters, and on guidance to business. For example, in April 2006 the FSA will consult on a change to its rules so advertisements subject to dual regulation need contain only one risk warning;
- Completing a feasibility study by September 2006 on ways to reduce the administration burden on firms either seeking authorisation from, or regulated by, both organisations; and
- Working more closely together on consumer education and providing information to consumers. A feasibility study on greater alignment of the FSA's consumer contact centre with the OFT's Consumer Direct service will be completed by October 2006.
John Tiner, FSA chief executive, says: "The FSA and OFT have a common interest in delivering better regulation benefits. Building on our existing liaison arrangements we have identified improvements to our processes and practices that will benefit consumers, firms and our organisations."
John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, adds: "OFT and FSA interests coincide in a wide range of areas, from ensuring that markets work well, to informing, empowering and protecting consumers. We believe that we can and should work more effectively together to the benefit of all our stakeholders, to deliver greater benefits for consumers and the UK economy alike."
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