Regulators agree to share information
A formal agreement has been reached between regulators from across the legal, accountancy, financial and property sectors that will allow even greater sharing of information.
The Memorandum of Understanding was completed on 2 May and will allow regulators to co-operate by sharing of information where there is a public interest in doing so.
The Memorandum was prompted by recent changes in the legal services market – particularly the launch of alternative business structures allowing firms to operate under several regulators at the same time – and will ensure that regulators act properly in relation to issues such as consumer engagement, evidence gathering and common standards and definitions. This will be useful for example in the event of a regulatory breach within a multi-disciplinary practice.
The Memorandum will also be useful where there is a synergy between two codes of conduct as this could lead to the MDP having to deal with only one regulator.
Simon Blandy, CLC Director of Policy and Standards, said:
“The legal services market is going through a period of enormous development and change and this MOU ensures that we as regulators are able to meet the challenges presented by these developments. Consumer protection is at the heart of regulation and it is vital that we regularly review working practices to ensure that we are all working together.
“This increased cooperation will see the regulated community benefit from a reduction in duplicated regulation and will increase the standard of protection for consumers.”
Ewen Macleod, Bar Standards Board Head of Professional Practice, said:
“The BSB is pleased to have entered into a working agreement with regulators from the legal, financial and property sectors. To ensure consumer protection and market integrity in today’s rapidly changing legal services market, regulators must work together with key regulatory partners and cooperate and communicate constructively. Under this agreement, the various regulators will coordinate resources and activities to avoid duplication of effort and to increase consumer protection.”
The signatories to the MoU are the five main legal regulators;
- Bar Standards Board,
- ILEX Professional Standards,
- Council for Licensed Conveyancers, and
- Intellectual Property Regulation Board,
together with seven external regulators or professional bodies, namely:
- Financial Services Authority,
- Law Society of Scotland,
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors,
- National Federation of Property Professionals,
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland,
- ICAEW, and
- Ministry of Justice acting as the Claims Management Regulator.
The memorandum of understanding can be downloaded from the SRA web site at www.sra.org.uk/documents/SRA/news/framework-memorandum-understanding-regulators.pdf