The UK chancellor Gordon Brown has promised to reduce form-filling and company inspections to ease pressure on financial services companies.
The ‘red tape commitment’, announced in the pre-budget report, is part of the government’s response to claims that compliance is too expensive and time consuming. The ten point plan will involve a review of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), which underpins current financial legislation.
The Treasury wants to see an easing of the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) controls over regulated businesses through a 15% reduction in reporting requirements, which will be of particular benefit to fund managers. Financial promotions will be reviewed to reduce the complexity and cost of marketing.
The FSA is also expected to work more closely with the Office of Fair Trading to improve consumer credit regulations and will have the power to waive or modify some rules without prior consultation to cut delays.
According to the Financial Times, the announcement has been greeted with caution from industry bodies. Peter Beales, a director of the London Investment Banking Association, told the newspaper: We welcome in principle attempts to reduce the regulatory burdens in the FSMA but we will have to make sure that the legislative drafting reflects those intentions.