Secondary intermediary market targeted in regional policing operation

Unauthorised motor dealers will be targeted by the FSA in its mission to ‘police the perimeter' during 2005.

The FSA will focus on enforcing regulatory controls in the secondary intermediary market throughout the regions. It is understood that the four main sectors of concern are motor dealers, mortgage providers, property managers and chartered surveyors.

To police the regions, the FSA will send out investigation teams from its Canary Wharf headquarters to follow leads and complaints.

A source close to the FSA said: "It has recruited about 400 new staff over the past six months to boost resources and collect and analyse data and complaints. Small specialist teams will be deployed during 2005 on regional ‘arrow' visits to make forensic investigations on unauthorised firms."

Of the 13,291 directly authorised firms, 5,351 were secondary intermediaries. Most of these were motor dealers and property managers, but this figure only reflects a minor portion of both sectors.

Compliance expert Branko Bjelobaba said: "If you look at the numbers fully authorised, not many are from the motor trade. There are over 20,000 motor dealers, so the figures are really appalling."

He added that many property managers and chartered surveyors "had not bothered" to seek authorisation.

An FSA spokesman said: "Of the 400 recruits only a small part of that number will be used to for investigations outside London."

' On 31 January the number of interim authorised general insurance firms was "just over 500", according to the FSA.