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SRA presses government on ABS start date

The SRA is calling on the government to make a decision on the timetable for the introduction of alternative business structures.

13 July 2011

Chris Kenny, chief executive of the LSB, warned earlier this year that ‘ABS day’, set for 6 October 2011, may have to be delayed by a few weeks while parliament made the necessary order.

The SRA said although its application to licence ABSs was approved by the LSB last month, parliamentary approval was needed before ABS day could happen.

The regulator also said it had “made it clear” that it must be able to consider any spent criminal convictions of ABS owners.

Justice minister Lord McNally told the House of Lords earlier this month that “a sense of urgency” was needed by the government in making an exceptions order under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act so previous convictions could be revealed.

The SRA said it would be seeking “early confirmation from the Ministry of Justice” of the proposed timetable for both orders so “those planning to apply to become ABS can have clarity about the starting date for the new regime”.

In a separate development, Yvonne Brown, SRA board member and former chair of the Black Solicitors Network, called on indemnity insurers to provide statistics to show that they were not discriminating against BME firms.

Brown told the SRA board that insurers should be monitoring applications by BME firms and offers made.

“The FSA says it is important for insurance firms to have controls in place to avoid discrimination. What controls? Where are the controls?”

She said that when the ARP was abolished firms in the risks pool which were “borderline and could be redeemed” would no longer get the opportunity.

“Insurers are gaining big time by getting rid of the ARP,” she added. “I would like them to come back to us with something to show that they have these controls.”

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Professional indemnity