The Financial Services Authority (FSA), the new "Super-Regulator",
was launched at the end of October and will be headed by the former
Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Howard Davies. Eventually
the FSA will assume the responsibilities of nine existing financial
watchdogs and bring together the supervision of banks, buildings
societies, insurers, unit trust companies and investment advisers.
Well known names such as IMRO, PIA and SFA will disappear as well
as the Securities and Investment Board which the FSA will replace.
The FSA is expected to have acquired its full range
of powers by late 1999, following the implementation of two key
pieces of legislation. The first will transfer responsibility for
the supervision of banks, money market institutions and related
clearing houses from the Bank of England to the FSA. This will be
followed by the implementation of a financial regulatory reform
bill which will create a new statutory regime replacing the old
self-regulatory system. Under this bill the FSA is expected to
acquire the responsibilities of, amongst others, the
Self-Regulatory Organisations, the Building Societies Commission
and the Friendly Societies Commission. The Government has yet to
decide whether the FSA will take responsibility for mortgages
regulation or whether these will continue to be covered by a
voluntary code of practice.