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The last-minute surprise that is ‘maintaining consumer confidence’

Times Online- Proper consultation is the rock upon which good regulation is founded. And for the Financial Services Authority, consultation is in its DNA. So when it does the unthinkable and drops a bombshell without warning or discussion — as last week with the announcement of the Short Selling Instrument — people are bound to be left shellshocked and confused, especially if they are lawyers under pressure from clients to advise on what needs to be done.

Designed, allegedly, to bring greater transparency to the market in the aftermath of the recent rights issues shambles by HBOS and Bradford & Bingley, the measure could have been called the “short notice instrument” because there were mere days between its announcement and its operational effect. The FSA’s justification for the move was that market conditions gave rise to increased potential for market abuse and therefore “immediate measures” were necessary to “maintain market confidence and prevent potential abuse during rights issues”.

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