PricewaterhouseCoopers' Alistair Noble gave the GISC regulation conference an insider's view of the way the Financial Services Authority (FSA) appears to be thinking last Friday.

He told the 75-strong audience of brokers, insurers and others concerned with regulation it was likely the regulatory timetable would be adhered to.

This gives precious little time to prepare, particularly for any firm that chooses to wait until the rulebook is published.

On the question of those organisations to be regulated, he said that where there was a discernible risk to the public, risk was likely to be covered by legislation.

He considered first the provisions of the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD).

On the question of scope of organisations to be included in regulation, his `steer' was that where there was a discernible risk to the public, that risk was likely to be covered by legislation.

This was good news for full-time professional intermediaries, who see no logic and considerable danger in excluding travel agents and high street warranty sellers from regulation.

Noble indicated that insurers too would have to take the provisions on board, as they would become regulated beyond the current prudential regulation regime.

He left delegates in no doubt that strategic planning by brokers should start now. His view was that to move towards best practice now would introduce a culture of change.

This should be done as good management practice, rather than for any `due credit' recognition that may be given by the FSA later.

GISC's Mike Poll gave delegates an insight into the management of complaints, and how to establish a complaints procedure.

He reported that the GISC complaints line had received about 10,000 calls since July 2000.

Asked how an intermediary should respond if a customer complaint related to unacceptably late issue of documents by insurers, his answer was simple. The intermediary should complain to GISC about the insurer's lack of service.

GISC head of policy Angela Darling reaffirmed the council's commitment to discharge its duties fully until the FSA takes over.

She noted that new applications were coming in steadily. There were 61 in April.

She reaffirmed that monitoring visits were continuing, normally on a risk-based basis, and about 1,400 had been completed.

The underlying message throughout the day was that firms needed to act now, and start to plan for FSA compliance based on current information, and not to wait until the FSA rulebook is produced.