Bill chaos spells delay for FSA investment powers

The Financial Services Authority put its new powers to regulate the eight registered professional bodies whose members provide investment advice out to tender last November. It had planned to announce the successful bidders for the contract to monitor firms conducting investment business by 1 April.

But Roger Purcell group manager for the FSA’s recognised professional body division, told Accountancy Age this week: ‘The decision will be announced by the end of next month.’

He said the delay in decision-making was caused by the need for more time to consider the implications of outsourcing the service and whether it should be outsourced at all. The FSA claims it would be more cost-effective to outsource the service than for the regulatory body to take on its own staff.

But, the successful bidder will not assume its new powers until the FSA itself takes on its full powers. The official line is that the FSA will assume its responsibilities by the beginning of next year.

Even that date is seen as doubtful, however, as the Bill has been forced back to a vote in the Commons after opposition from the Lords.

The FSA has to choose between eight bids. The Joint Monitoring Unit of the three chartered institutes, PwC and ACCA have put in individual bids. PwC and ACCA have also put in a joint bid. The Law Societies of England and Wales and Scotland have also made individual bids, while Bacon & Woodrow and IFA Bankhall Investment Management have made submissions, too.

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