Financial Services – FSA bill will harm accountants

The English ICA has condemned the government’s draft financial services and markets Bill as unreasonable, arguing it will penalise chartered accountants unfairly.

Under the draft Bill, the Financial Services Authority will become the sole regulator for financial services, including those provided by accountants.

In a strongly worded document submitted to the Treasury this week, the institute raises concerns over the Bill’s impact on accountants in their roles as providers of financial services and auditors.

It wants a change in policy so it can continue to regulate members whose investment work is ‘incidental’ to professional practice.

The institute is concerned that if this does not happen, then costly FSA regulation could hit members’ mainstream activities.

Its response states: ‘It is unfortunate that in simplifying the regulatory structure for most of the financial services sector, the government will be making it more complex and expensive for chartered accountants and their clients.

‘It is neither fair nor reasonable for such clients to be penalised for seeking advice from a chartered accountant.’ The institute says the scope of the FSA’s authority will not become clear until the publication of secondary legislation.

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