Biba’s head of compliance and training explains what will keep brokers awake this year

It’s certainly been a hectic start to 2010! I’ve spent a significant amount of time dealing with the proposed change in scope to insurance premium tax (IPT) and then explaining the results to members.

The effort was certainly worthwhile, as we were able to achieve a significant reduction in the proposed scope to the benefit of a large number of our members.

In addition, I’ve been out to Brussels twice as the preparatory work ahead of the revision of the Insurance Mediation Directive gathers pace. We play an active part in Bipar (the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries) and Bipar is co-ordinating the intermediary input to the revision process.

I have also been running our popular compliance forums in Belfast, Birmingham, Bury St Edmunds, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester. These informal gatherings of compliance officers prove invaluable to Biba, as they give us a really good feel as to the key compliance issues facing our members, together with instant feedback on our lobbying positions.

Conference time is always an extremely busy period for the Biba team, and this year is certainly no different. Professional conferences do not just happen – they require careful planning and meticulous attention to detail, and I have no doubt that the efforts of Lindsay Campbell (Biba conference organiser) and her team will be rewarded with another highly successful event.

This will be my seventh Biba conference, and once again the programme of keynote speakers looks extremely interesting. I’m particularly looking forward to the industry panel debate on Thursday. A panel comprising of Peter Cullum, Robert Brown, Phillip Hodson, Richard Ward and Sandy Scott should be illuminating, and I am sure that if the pace drops, then the chair Jonathan Dimbleby will get them going again.

Thursday also features what I am sure to most delegates is the ‘unmissable’ session: Joanna Lumley, whose new TV series Joanna Lumley’s Nile is getting rave reviews from pundits and viewers alike, will no doubt enthral a packed auditorium. I hope she stops to sign some autographs afterwards!

If the past is anything to go by, I am likely to spend a large part of the conference chatting to members over a coffee about the latest regulatory developments. Indeed, my favourite conference ‘experience’ occurred in Brighton in 2006, where I spent half an hour on a seafront bench at 6.30am discussing the FSA’s client money rules with a member. Fond memories!

Steve White is head of compliance and training at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba).