Fears an independent professional standards board (IPSB) would represent another tier of regulation are misplaced, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) says.
The Institute says concerns over what it calls "regulatory duplication" will be resolved by the IPSB having an "unambiguous demarcation" of its role as opposed to the FSA or FOS, as well as a "clear statutory role".
"There has been some confusion about whether an IPSB would be another professional body," it states. "As envisaged, it would have a very specific role sitting above, rather than duplicating, the functions of what existing professional bodies do."
Dual regulation was one of three 'myths' the CII today moved to dispel ahead of the introduction of an IPSB, one of the RDR's central tenets.
Another - that the board would incur annual costs upward of £40m - has been potentially overstated to the tune of more than £38m, it concludes, adding the long-term savings in regulation of paying for an IPSB "could be huge".
The CII compares the annual outlay of organisations similar to the IPSB, calculating the Legal Services Board has a yearly budget of £4.3m and the Professional Oversight Board of the Financial Reporting Council an operating budget of just £1.5m.
"The IPSB should be a ‘standards' board and focus on oversight," it says. "As long as the role of the IPSB is limited to that of oversight, we believe the budget will be a fraction of this [£40m]."
Elsewhere, the CII says the existence of an IPSB would not only help improve consumer clarity and increase savings, but also raise advisers' job satisfaction as consumer trust in the industry soars.
Pointing to FSCP research (Jan 2008) suggesting consumers see all advisers as "salesmen who are ultimately out for their own interests rather than those of the consumer", the CII says an IPSB would, over time, encourage increased status for the adviser profession.
"The development of professional standards should improve job satisfaction for professionals in an industry commanding greater trust and respect, on a par with other professionals with rigorous standards like accountants and lawyers."
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