Report to raise debate that a single regulator might be best

The ABI will today release a report aimed at stimulating a fresh debate about future regulation, raising the possibility of a Europe-wide super-regulator.

The FT reports that the ABI backs the super-regulator idea based on a briefing last night from ABI director general Stephen Hadrill, but an ABI spokesman this morning told Insurance Times it was not so clear cut.

The FT said the ABI was the first leading City organisation to offer at least conditional support for the idea of pan-European regulation.

The FT reports that the ABI document says that the “failure of trust” between national regulators – demonstrated during the current crisis – meant that the idea needed to be actively pursued.

“There’s got to be a better supervision framework for international financial services,” Stephen Haddrill told the Financial Times.

The FT said Mr Haddrill also said he believed City opinion had shifted on the issue of international supervisory arrangements over the past 12 months as a result of the financial crisis, and that there was now a greater recognition that “we can’t do everything on our own in London”.

The insurers’ comments come as officials in Brussels are debating possible changes to the supervisory framework for financial services groups within the EU.

A “high-level group” – headed by a senior French banker, Jacques de Larosière – was set up by the European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, last year, and is due to report later this month, the FT said.

The ABI media officer responsible for releasing the document could not be contacted this morning.