Business and Other Briefings

FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the final FSA fee rates and Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) levies for 2008/09. The finalised fee rates, for most firms, are the same level as those consulted on in February 2008.  
However, in three fee-blocks actual fee rates will be lower than those proposed: fund managers (A7); operators, trustees and depositaries of collective investment schemes (A9); and firms dealing as principal (A10).
Press release ~ Fees ~ Consultation Paper CP07/19 ~ Consultation Paper CP08/2 ~ Policy Statement PS08/05 ~ FSCS management expenses levy for 2008/09 - Handbook Notice 75 ~ Fee Calculator
HM Treasury: Economic Secretary and City Minister Kitty Ussher MP, has announced the Government's response to the consultation on a sterling Sukuk issuance, saying the government favoured a 'bill-like' Sukuk programme which could be fully integrated with the conventional Treasury bill programme.
Chairing the third meeting of the Islamic Finance Experts Group, Kitty Usher said that, were the remaining barriers to be surmountable, a rolling programme of up to around £2b of 'bill-like' Sukuk issuance would be achievable over time.  She added that the group will publish a UK strategy paper on Islamic Finance within the next year.
Press release ~ Closed consultation paper: Government sterling sukuk issuance: a consultation ~ Islamic Finance in the UK: Regulation and Challenges ~ Feasibility study of the Government becoming an issuer of wholesale sterling Islamic financial instruments ~ Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) ~ Glossary of Islamic financial terms ~ Islamic Banking in the UK
OFT:  The Office of Fair Trading is warning consumers to be careful before responding to unsolicited mailings which advise them to cancel existing individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) and which suggest they opt for an alternative debt management solution, such as bankruptcy instead. Some such mailings sent out to consumers misleadingly suggest to recipients they may have been miss-sold the IVA and/or that bankruptcy may be more suitable for their circumstances, when this may not be the case.
These mailings are being targeted at vulnerable consumers in IVAs by companies who appear to have accessed their personal contact details from the public register of people in IVAs, which the Insolvency Service is required by law to maintain.
The OFT considers such claims to be in breach of its debt management guidance, not only if they are misleading, but also if they fail to explain the consequences of terminating an IVA agreement and going bankrupt.
Press release ~ OFT ~ CAB ‘Debt’ publications ~ CAB: Credit and debt fact sheets ~ Consumer Credit Counselling Service ~ Advice UK ~ Insolvency Service ~ National Debt line ~ Money Advice Trust ~ Individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) ~ Bankruptcy
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published Market Watch 27, an update of the thematic review of controls over inside information, following the publication of Market Watch 21 in July last year. The update includes a set of Principles of Good Practice for the handling of inside information.  
Press release ~ Market Watch 27 ~ Market Watch 21
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a consultation paper (closes on 3 September 2008) which proposes that insurance companies will no longer be permitted to charge compensation for miss-selling to the inherited estates of with-profits funds.  The proposals relate specifically to proprietary firms and not mutuals – See ‘Consultations’ for more information.
DWP: A consultation (closes on 28 August 2008) paper looking at how employers can continue to maintain good occupational pension provision through greater risk sharing has been published. The DWP is asking for views from stakeholders on whether the Government should amend pensions’ law to allow new types of pension schemes which would more evenly share risks between the employer and the individual – See ‘Consultations’ for more information.
Adoption of Intelligent Automation in the Public Sector