Comply with us

A major revelation at Asim's agm was the joint discussions with the Law Society over regulation, reports Mary Heaney.

At ASIM's recent annual general meeting, the Law Society and Asim were shown to be working together in order to agree standard documentation for compliance.

Stuart Bushell, head of investment business regulation at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS), told delegates, in a question and answer session, that both organisations intended to bring out key documents this year. He said that if these forms were used, they would be sufficient for compliance purposes. He added that one of Asim's leading members has been involved in drawing up the forms and would be giving them a trial run.

The creation and regulation and of a super Securities and Investments Board (SIB) was dealt with by Roger Purcell, head of registered professional body supervision at the Securities and Investments Board.

He said the super SIB will become the single regulator, self-regulation will give way to a statutory system, self-regulatory organisations will be abolished, and banking regulation will be amalgamated into the new body.

Purcell believed it would be the nature of the business which determined whether it should be regulated by the new SIB.

Leslie Cumming, chief accountant of the Law Society of Scotland, said the society had not yet had a meeting about the ramifications of a new SIB.

But he said that, in his view, if there was a devolved Parliament, it would not be popular to have financial regulation based in London.

Cumming added that the Law Society's Guarantee Fund paid out very little to investors. There were few claims because of the fact that inspectors visit firms on a two-yearly basis.

He said firms would not approve of a more expensive solution from south of the border. Cumming stressed the urgency of the issue, saying: “We need to make representations in time.”

On the question of a closer relationship between Asim and the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (Step), chairman of Step, Geoffrey Shindler, said there was no question of the two organisations getting closer constitutionally, but there may be scope in conferences and training.

Newly-elected Asim chairman Iain Nicholson asked the Law Society how important it considered investment business to be and whether it would contemplate putting resources into the sector.

Secretary General Jane Betts replied that financial services seemed to be a success story for the profession and said the Law Society wanted to help to take this forward. But she added that she did not see the Law Society as a capital fund.

This year's conference introduced a programme of workshops devised by Asim training consultant Gillian Ellis. Topics included performance measurement and benchmarking, research, software and a number of quality initiatives.