The FSA is to beef up its campaign to improve sales standards in the payment protecion insurance (PPI) market over the coming months.

The regulator announced it would begin a new phase of mystery shopping exercises and visits to firms in a bid to determine whether sales practices have improved in this much-criticised area.

A particular focus, it said, would be on firms for whom the sale of PPI is a minor part of their main business.

This new exercise will build on the work conducted in 2005/ 2006, and is the largest programme of thematic work the FSA has undertaken.

By the end of June the FSA will have visited over 200 PPI firms in two years. Around 10 firms have so far been referred to enforcement.

Clive Briault, FSA managing director of retail markets, said improving sales standards in the PPI market is a "key priority" for the FSA. "The next phase of our programme will tell us what progress has been made and what further action is necessary."

The phase will be completed by the end of June 2007.

The FSA also said it was not convinced that its current rules relating to PPI were "delivering the protection that customers deserve".

It said it would review its current rules to see if there was a case for adding to, or altering them. Biba has welcomed the FSA's new efforts on PPI.