The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is seeking an alternative to Financial Services Authority regulation of all firms arranging insurance services in the property and construction sector.
It is talking to the government about taking on the role of regulator for the thousands of chartered surveyors who provide insurance for their clients.
RICS chief executive Louis Armstrong, who attended a meeting with Treasury officials to discuss the issue last week, says: “We are in discussions with the Treasury and there are a few chinks of light. They want to fulfil the government's light touch pledge on regulation, while RICS wants to avoid tying the property and construction sectors up in red tape, hurting small businesses and reducing choice and competition. These two aims should be compatible and we will continue to explore the regulatory alternatives to the current FSA approach.”
After January 2005, any firm offering insurance advice or services will be in breach of the regulations if they have not registered with the FSA, even if they are already working though a regulated insurance intermediary. The deadline date for FSA registration for this activity, July 13, is looming fast.
Armstrong adds: “RICS members must still register with the FSA if they wish to offer insurance services next year. We cannot at this stage depend on agreeing an alternative approach. But we will continue to fight hard to protect the consumer and for common sense regulation.”
RICS, which represents 85,000 chartered surveyors in the UK alone, believes the regulation is unnecessary and bad for business. It foresees that the new rules will make a mockery of the government's pledge to regulate business with a light touch.