In his opening speech at Biba 2003, Biba chief executive Mike Williams said that FSA regulation is the most important issue facing the broking community.

"We are facing a number of key issues including capacity problems, service standards, and the liability crisis, but nothing compares with the impact of the regulation to which we are subject."

But Williams said that brokers should eliminate the 'fear factor' when dealing with the issue of regulation.

"Brokers have a long time to look at the facts - don't rush into anything, keep a cool head and seize the opportunity."

Williams also praised the FSA for its role in preparing brokers for the prospect of regulation in 2005.

"The FSA is trying to help - it is in listening mode and is being very constructive in its help."

Earlier, Biba chairman Hamish Ritchie said that though brokers and the FSA were reluctant to regulate the industry, it was an issue that must be "embraced".