After what they must consider a “decent period”, the insurers and the bankers have reappeared from the slimy depths like Grendel out to wreak revenge on consumers protected too long by Europe.
The insurance and pensions industry is calling for a review of the rules covering financial advice, arguing that Brexit presents an opportunity to move away from EU standards.
We learn from today’s FT that the Association of British Insurers considers EU guidelines around what constitutes “advice” are far too restrictive and it has demanded a full review of the UK watchdog’s Handbook of rules and guidance.
Many life insurers want Britain to move away from Solvency II, the bloc’s capital rules.
A world where we’re told to invest in under-capitalised products by advisers working in banking and insurance call centres sounds like back to the 70s. It is not what we spent the last fifty years campaigning for.
Even more fearsome than Grendel was Grendel’s mother. If we can continue the parallel – step forward Norman Blackwell, Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group who is given space in the Financial Times to snort his acrid breath over its opinion column
Blackwell argues that where there are sound commercial reasons (eg benefits for his shareholders) Britain should “diverge from equivalence” to European regulations and do as the shareholders like.
The UK already has concerns about the impact of the Mifid II rules on reporting trades on London’s global competitiveness, and will be wary of future EU legislation that moves the bloc away from standards in other jurisdictions. The EU is equally nervous that Britain could relax regulations to help its companies gain competitive advantage over EU rivals.
London, the article implies, can gain competitive advantage if it can compete in non-Eu governed markets unconstrained by the shackles of consumer protections, transparency and solvency margins.
Those familiar with Anglo-Saxon folklore will remember that both Grendel and Grendel’s mum are slain by Beowulf who saves his kingdom from their existential threat.
This morning I will be at a congregation of people dedicated to doing just that. It is timely that Gina and Alan Miller are launching the True and Fair Campaign’s investigative report Asleep at the Wheel .
We’re told it analyses the scandals and regulatory failures over the last four years. That it looks at the way in which major scandals have gone unchecked on the watch of senior regulators, and raises serious questions about rewarding failure.
Let’s hope that Alan and Gina, and those that support them , can math Beowulf and slay the monsters of the slimy deep.