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Regulation must not stand in the way of progress – BSA

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  • 18/05/2016
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Regulation must not stand in the way of progress – BSA
The Building Societies Assocation (BSA) has hailed progress made in the mutual sector in gaining back consumer trust in financial services, but warned that this progress should not be impeded by regulatory change.

In an opening speech at the BSA’s annual conference, chief executive Robin Fieth (pictured), pointed to research showing the building society sector as one of the most trusted areas of financial services.

However, he added that the industry must not allow regulation to stand in the way of further improvements.

“Regulation should be both proportionate to the size and complexity of a financial services business and appropriate to its legal form. These are factors that affect building societies as established challengers and the newer challenger banks too. Getting this right will deliver for consumers with increased innovation and competition, and for the UK as a whole through increased market resilience,” he said.

Fieth has raised similar concerns in the past, explaining that the mutual sector was struggling under the weight of increasing regulation. Speaking to the FT last year he said there was a pressing need for someone to take on responsibility for assessing the impact of the regulatory burden.

Figures released by the BSA in November showed that building societies approved over 100,000 mortgages in the third quarter of 2015, accounting for 27% of the total market.

Fieth added: “I think we already have a lot of pieces of the jigsaw, but it’s not yet all put together. We are moving in the right direction with 2015 another year of strong financial performance. Societies have added further strength to their capital reserves which in the right regulatory environment will create capacity to invest in successful, dynamic, growing futures.”

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