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Government backs PIA

THE Government has given cautious support to the Personal Investment Authority, a new regulator designed to take responsibility for investments that are sold to the public.

Anthony Nelson, the Economics Secretary, said at a City of London Corporation dinner last week: 'I believe that there could be important advantages for investor protection if a new self-regulatory organisation were established to regulate business done with or for the private investor, with the support of firms who do business in that sector.'

The Government has been under pressure from supporters of the PIA to express its support for the new body. They hope its backing will encourage companies that sell investments to the public, currently regulated by any of five other bodies, to join.

Insurance companies have said they will back the PIA only if banks, building societies, fund managers and insurance brokers join it. But many of these firms are reluctant to join.

Mr Nelson said: 'I hope that potential members of the PIA will give full consideration to the proposals to enable continuing progress to be made.'

He pointed out that the PIA has yet to be authorised as a regulatory body. Last week the PIA formation committee published a consultative document.