Bankers join talks on new regulator

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TWO bankers and a building society chief have joined the group charged with forming the Personal Investment Authority (PIA), suggesting potential support among their ranks for the new regulator, writes Clare Dobie.

The PIA is designed to bring together all firms that sell investment products to the public. If agreed, it will result in the merger of two existing regulators, Fimbra and Lautro.

Ken Bignall, the managing director of financial services at Barclays; John Elbourne, the chief operating officer of TSB's retail banking and insurance business; and Chris Sharp, the managing director of Northern Rock, have joined the PIA formation committee, which is due to produce a consultative document later this month.

Mr Bignall said yesterday he had not made up his mind about the PIA. 'We do not support it; we do not oppose it.' Life insurance companies have said that unless banks and building societies that sell competing products join the PIA (and share the costs) they would not support the body.

The life companies also want firms to move from other regulators such as Imro and SIB.