Practice and Procedure

Regulators agree to share data on ABSs

PUBLISHED May 3, 2012

Thursday 03 May 2012 by John Hyde

A cross-profession agreement should ensure that alternative business structures have to deal with only one regulator.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this week by regulators from the legal, accountancy, financial and property sectors will enable more information to be shared, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said today. Under the Legal Services Act, non-lawyers from other professions are allowed to own or run law firms. The SRA said the new agreement should give clarity to entrants who may have found themselves regulated by several different bodies.

Regulators will work together on issues such as consumer engagement, evidence gathering and common standards.

Simon Blandy, director of policy and standards for the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, said increased co-operation 'will see the regulated community benefit from a reduction in duplicated regulation and will increase the standard of protection for consumers'.

All parties have agreed the text, with minor variations for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) which take account of specific rules that apply to that sector. The MoU is non-binding and comes into force from today (3 May).

The signatories to the memorandum are the five main legal regulators - the SRA, Bar Standards Board, ILEX Professional Standards, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers and Intellectual Property Regulation Board - and seven external regulators or professional bodies.

They are the FSA, the Law Society of Scotland, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the National Federation of Property Professionals, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, the ICAEW and the Ministry of Justice, acting as the Claims Management Regulator.