Industry panel highlights the challenges faced by smaller firms

The FSA Smaller Businesses Practitioner Panel (the Panel) today releases its Annual Report for
2007/8. As a part of the regulatory accountability framework, the Panel represents the interests and
views of smaller financial services firms – which comprise around 90% of those firms regulated by
the FSA.

Mark Rothery, outgoing Chairman, said:

“The Panel’s Annual Report is produced at a time when many developments are having a huge impact upon the operation of a smaller firm in the Financial Services Authority's regulatory environment.

“In particular, many smaller firms still feel overwhelmed by the demands and uncertainties around the
FSA’s move towards a more principles-based approach; by the application of the TCF initiative; and
by the potential impact of the Retail Distribution Review.

“However, the recent launch of the FSA’s Enhanced Small Firm Strategy – an initiative which the
Panel warmly endorses - will provide a greater degree of communication, support for and interaction
with smaller firms which, if successful, should prove beneficial to all.

“Smaller firms can offer their customers a unique proposition. It is therefore essential that the FSA
strives to strike the right balance between strong, effective and – importantly – proportionate
regulation on the one hand; whilst enabling conscientious and well managed smaller firms to thrive
and prosper on the other.

“The chairmanship of the Panel will now pass to Simon Bolam. Simon has extensive experience,
enthusiasm and natural leadership - all of which qualities will help ensure that the Panel continues to
engage constructively with the FSA; is focused on the issues that matter; and remains an authoritative and influential voice for the smaller firm community.”

Notes to Editors

The Smaller Businesses Practitioner Panel (the Panel) was established by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 1999 to represent the views and interests of smaller regulated firms. Its membership is drawn from smaller firms across the key sectors of regulated business.
The Annual Report summarises the Panel's work over the preceding 12 months and outlines its
priorities for the year ahead. It includes commentary on a number of key issues including: More
Principles-Based Regulation; the Treating Customers Fairly initiative; the FSA's Enhanced Small
Firm Strategy; the Retail Distribution Review; and others.
The Panel believes that smaller firms have a crucial role to play in a healthy and competitive
financial services marketplace - and in providing consumers with choice, service and flexibility.
The Panel can be contacted by email through its secretariat function at the FSA [email protected] - or in writing c/o the Independent Panels Secretariat at the usual FSA office address.
Further information about the role and work of the Panel can be found on its website:
The Panel Chairman is an ex officio member of the Financial Services Practitioner Panel (which has statutory independence from the FSA) to help ensure that smaller firms are properly represented at the very highest level within the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 accountability framework. Information about the Financial Services Practitioner Panel can be found at:
The FSA's website address is: In due course, the FSA will publish on its website a formal response to the Panel’s Annual Report.