FSA hikes its fees to three institutes

The Financial Services Authority plans to hike the fees payable bysh ICA. three of the six major professional bodies by nearly #100,000, as the government gears up to end self-regulation of accountants’ investment business.

The rises levied on the Scots ICA, ACCA and the Irish ICA in the FSA budget plan for 1998 amount to an increase in their contributions by up to a third.

Anthony Booth, ACCA director, said: ‘We think the quantum of fees is too high, given the risk that members pose who register to carry out investment business.’

But he added: ‘We haven’t seen much variation in costs over time – sometimes there are extra charges or rebates.’

An FSA spokeswoman said headline budget figures showed a decline, from 1997 to 1998, from #160,000 to #148,000 for ACCA, and emphasised the authority aimed to reduce costs.

But this only results from the accounting method used by the FSA which charges fees in advance and rebates any underspend the following year as a credit.

ACCA was over-charged by #53,000 last year. The result is a rise in fees from #107,000 to #148,000 this year. The Scots ICA faces a rise from #70,000 to #100,000, while the Irish ICA will pay #101,000, a hike of #23,000.

Fees for the English ICA remain static.

The FSA, under chief executive Howard Davies, has a rolling programme of visits to institutes to check they fulfil their regulatory duty. All the institutes, except for public sector body CIPFA and management accountants association CIMA, which are not registered with the FSA, were visited by the FSA’s predecessor, the Securities & Investments Board.

It is possible that after 1999, when the FSA takes responsibility for regulating the profession, costs will decline. Many accountants could fall out of the FSA’s net if there is an increase in the amount of investment business they need to carry out before registering.

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