What are the big stories hitting the headlines this week?

Acquisition

R K Harrison is set to buy high net worth broker Mercury West Associates later this month, subject to FSA approval. The Mercury West business will remain as a brand within R K Harrison.

Crackdown

The FSA and the Office of Fair Trading have issued new joint guidance on payment protection products. The FSA says firms should ensure that product features reflect the needs of the consumers they are targeting.

Launch

Esure will launch new broking brands esure broker and Sheilas’ Wheels Broker later this month. The firms will launch on Gocompare, in which the direct motor insurer has a 49% stake, and will then be rolled out onto other price comparison sites within three months.

Shake-up

New FSA rules will require banks and building societies to check that customers are eligible to claim on insurance cover before they are sold packaged bank accounts that include insurance products.

Fight

Prime minister David Cameron has announced that armed guards will be allowed on British merchant ships to tackle Somalian piracy.