The Investors Compensation Scheme has delayed payment of the second and final instalment of the levy for 2001/02 from Personal Investment Authority groups until 15 October. This is designed to help payers who have only recently been invoiced for the first instalment with their cash flow.
The ICS does not anticipate an increase in the levy for this financial year.
On 30 November, the ICS will become part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, when the Financial Services and Markets Act comes into force. The FSCS is at present operating the ICS.FSA gives guidance on financial promotion
The Financial Services Authority has issued consultation paper CP104, which will help the media, website operators and financial service companies to be clear about the financial promotion provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
The guidance covers the meaning of financial promotion and the exemptions available from the financial promotion rules, which are designed to ensure that consumers still receive useful information in the media about financial services.
The paper sets out the exclusions available for publishers, providers of news and information services and broadcasters from the requirement to be authorised to give investment advice.
The Act provides that periodical publications and news and broadcast services are excluded from the need to be authorised for advising on investments, provided that the principal purpose of the publication or service is not to give investment advice or to lead or enable people to buy or sell investments. The paper explains clearly what the Act's provisions mean.
If these periodicals and services request it, the FSA may issue a certificate confirming that they are exempt. The paper includes guidance on how certificates can be obtained: the system is similar to what happens under the FSA 1986.
The paper also covers the FSA's views on the definition of an OEIC in terms of the new Act; whether it needs to be authorised; whether offers of an OEIC's securities are covered by or by the restrictions on unregulated collective investment schemes under s 238 of the Act; and their tax treatment.
The paper can be downloaded from www.fsa.gov.uk.FSA reviews soft commission
The Financial Services Authority is to undertake as an early priority a review of regulatory requirements affecting authorised financial services firms' soft commission practices. This work will be carried out alongside that being done on best execution in the securities markets.
Softing is the practice whereby one party provides services or products in exchange for business provided by another. The FSA will also investigate bundling - where the fund manager's payment to a broker is inclusive of remuneration for the broker's own services, together with the cost of soft services provided by the broker.
The expanded study will take competition issues into consideration.Credit unions
In its consultation paper, Credit Unions Specialist Sourcebook, the Financial Services Authority sets out how the new regime will apply to credit unions from 1 July 2002.
There are 700 credit unions registered in England, Scotland and Wales, with 300,000 members and assets of £200m.
A key part of the FSA's original proposals was that credit unions that offer only a limited range of services would have reduced regulatory requirements.
After consultation, the Authority has made a number of changes. The FSA's Approved Persons Regime will apply to all credit unions. They will all have to meet a basic test of solvency and maintain a certain level of initial capital. All credit unions must maintain a minimum liquidity ratio.
The consultation paper can be obtained from FSA Publications on 0845 608 2372 or viewed on www.fsa.gov.uk.Open market option for annuity purchasers
The Financial Services Authority is proposing a requirement that policyholders of individual pensions be informed when they approach retirement that their annuity may be purchased from a life office other than their present pension provider.
In addition, holders of certain life assurance endowment policies who seek information about their surrender value must be made aware that they may be able to sell their policy instead.
Consultation paper CP 106, Disclosure: Trading an Endowment Policy and Buying a Pension Annuity, can be seen on www.fsa.gov.uk.Proposed changes to Listing Rules
The Financial Services Authority is planning to change the to make it easier for non-technology companies to obtain a listing where their three-year record does not show growing revenues.
FSA consultation paper 105, , clarifies the way the FSA will judge whether a company is suitable for listing, by introducing a guidance note on the operation of para 3.6(a). Where companies are unable to meet that paragraph's requirement that the business be supported by the historical revenue earning record, they may still be admitted to listing provided that certain additional information is disclosed in their listing documents and certain continuing obligations are met.
The guidance note sets out the factors that the UK Listing Authority will take into account when assessing whether an applicant meets the requirements of para 3.6(a).
The consultation paper also says that all listed issuers, including those of specialist securities and overseas issuers with a secondary listing, should notify the market that documents were available for inspection at the Document Viewing Facility.
Copies of the paper are available (first one free and additional ones at £10 each) from the FSA orderline on 0845 608 2372, quoting reference CP105. Copies can also be downloaded from www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/cp/105/.
For information about subscriptions to FSA newsletters, view www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/subs/ or telephone the subscription department on 020 7676 3298.