The reality of regulation means that every organisation and every individual across the industry must determine how they are going to comply with the FSA regime.
Central to the FSA approach is training and competence. Henceforth, people working in the insurance arena must be able to demonstrate that they are fit for purpose. They must develop the competence necessary to do their job, and they must ensure that they remain competent thereafter. This means acquiring knowledge and capability, and remaining up-to-date with changes affecting the market.
It is hard to criticise this aspect of the FSA's regulatory programme.
The CII has long campaigned for high standards of technical capability and ethical practice and, in a sense, the FSA regime is a codification of this within a statutory context.
It seems indisputable that clients will benefit from an improvement in standards and performance by industry practitioners. It will also be harder for commentators to criticise the industry when its members are adhering to objective, rigorously-applied measures of learning.
This, then, is the regulatory dividend: an improvement in the industries reputation. But it is incumbent upon the CII and other organisations to provide the facilities and support to enable the industry to take full advantage. Our job is to deliver the tools that enable practitioners to achieve and sustain compliance. We must also act as guardians of integrity and overall best practice, ensuring that the reputation of the industry is safeguarded and enhanced at all times.
The CII's general insurance Qualifications Framework, unveiled last year, is a prime example of our endeavours. It links a host of courses - across the widest range of subjects and at varying levels of sophistication - to a hierarchy of examinations and qualifications that are recognised throughout the world. To support those studying for CII qualifications, we have a comprehensive range of learning and revision aids, of which brokerASSESS is an important element. It is cutting-edge technology shaped to meet the precise needs of the intermediary community and facilitate a comfortable existence within the forthcoming regime. Regulation should hold no fears for those who already maintain high standards and who prepare for changes to come.