FCA viewed as re-brand exercise by brokers surveyed by UKGI

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The Financial Conduct Authority is seen as little more than a re-branding exercise, as opposed to a change in regulatory focus, according to brokers surveyed by compliance consultancy UKGI.

Of the 151 brokers surveyed at last week's 2013 British Insurance Brokers' Association conference, 75% agreed or strongly agreed that the FCA is merely the FSA in another guise.

Commenting on the results, Jerry White, UKGI managing director, said: "Although this appears to tell us the current feeling is that the old and new regulators are much the same, what brokers were saying to us at Biba was that this is because they don't yet have clarity on exactly what the FCA is going to do differently. When this becomes clear, there's a hope amongst brokers that this perception will change."

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley's speech at the opening of the conference last Wednesday appears to have assuaged some of the alarm felt by brokers about the introduction of the FCA with nearly 40% of respondents feeling that the FCA would have a positive impact upon the industry.

However, this was tempered by the 20% who felt that the FCA would have a negative impact, with a further 21% believing that it would have no impact at all.

White added: "What these results show us is that although the FCA have done a lot of hard work in getting their message across, the vast majority of brokers are still unconvinced that the FCA really is a new body with new idea.

"Although Martin Wheatley's engagement programme with the market is to be welcomed, there is more work to be done in clarifying how they will engage with brokers, he added."

The UKGI survey also found that the majority of brokers are prepared for any intervention by the FCA with 73% believing they had the resource in place to deal with the changing regulatory landscape. However, more than 20% still believe they need to bring in specialist support to help them deal with the changes.

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