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Lords question regulation

A House of Lords report examining the accountability of the FSA and other regulators is calling for a dedicated parliamentary committee to be established to scrutinise the regulatory state.

This move has been welcomed by brokers in the run-up to mortgage regulation.

The report, The Regulatory State: Ensuring its Accountability, raises serious questions about how the performance of regulators is monitored. It also questions the assumption that the present level of regulation, and extensions of quasi-governmental powers, should be a permanent feature.

It says: “Many judge that regulatory burdens are increasing, sometimes unnecessarily. This regulatory tendency has to be checked and the best way to do that is with effective accountability.”

It also condemns the limited rights of appeal that regulated firms have and calls for the government to appoint a lead department to be responsible for promoting effective regulation.

It also recommends a move towards self-regulation.

Brain Lentz, principal of portfolio Insurance Consultancy & Mortgage Broker, says: “This is the only time we will get an independent view of regulation until the EU takes over.

“With the FSA about to take on mortgage and general insurance regulation, this report looks at what brokers can expect if the Treasury leaves things as they are.”

But Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesman for the FSA, says: “We are an extremely accountable body. We have statutory objectives which provide political and legal accountability.”

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