The FSA has been urged to force employers to give references outlining the competency of former staff

Under FSA regulation, brokers must demonstrate the competency of staff.

But brokers have complained that the common practice of former employers only providing start and finish dates makes it difficult to prove the competency of new staff.

One broker said she had recently let go two new members of staff because they did not have the experience they had claimed. The reluctance of former employers to give full references meant these credentials could not be checked, she said.

The broker called for the FSA to prescribe a set form where employers could outline the competency of former staff without fear of litigation.

A spokesman for the FSA said the regulator did not have the power to force employers to give full references.

But Argyll Group chairman Kevin Young said assessing competency was a subjective manner and forcing employers to give full references would not solve the problem.