I refer to the article on the subject of the process involved to provide an instalment plan for the payment of regulatory fees and levies (News, 16 March).

I should like to point out that this process is not a tender process. The FSA merely acts as a facilitator to enable an industry working group to negotiate an instalment plan on the most favourable terms with credit providers.

This working group is made up of representatives from interested trade associations, a member of the Smaller Businesses Practitioner Panel, representing firms who do not belong to any trade association, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the FSA.

An invitation for interested credit providers to submit written proposals to the working group by 28 February 2006 was contained in the FSA's Fees & Levies consultation paper (CP06/2). This process was identical to the process followed last year, when three submissions were received.

I should also like to emphasise that the FSA does not directly endorse Premium Credit over other credit providers that can provide such a facility directly to individual firms.

Since it was the unanimous decision of the working group last year to recommend Premium Credit, the FSA agreed to also promote that recommendation, alongside the trade associations.

However, it is stated on the FSA website that the FSA is aware that other providers may wish to provide such a service to individual firms and that firms are free to research other opportunities available in the market.

I have today also written to the parties quoted in the article to correct their misunderstanding of the process and their factual errors.

Graeme Ashley-Fenn
Director - contact, revenue & information management
FSA

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