LONDON, March 29 The head of the UK parliament's
Treasury Committee on Saturday described as an "extraordinary
blunder" the leak of a planned review by the financial services
watchdog into the life insurance industry, which sent shares in
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was due to announce
the investigation in its annual business plan on Monday. But a
senior FCA supervisor outlined the review in a press interview
"On the face of it, this is an extraordinary blunder,"
Andrew Tyrie, the Treasury Committee head, said in a statement.
"It is crucial that we have a full and transparent
explanation about how such an apparently serious mistake came to
be made by our financial services watchdog - the body appointed
by parliament to enforce high standards of conduct."
Insurance stocks fell sharply on speculation the review
could lead to changes that affect the profitability of their
The FCA later issued a statement saying its board
acknowledged market concerns regarding press coverage of the
"The board will conduct an investigation into the FCA's
handling of the issue involving an external law firm and will
share the outcome of this work in due course," it said.
Tyrie said his committee would want to be satisfied the
external oversight of that investigation would be independent of
the FCA. He said one external person should be in overall charge
of the inquiry into the leak.
"The Treasury Committee will probably want to see the
independent reviewer before he or she commences work," he added.
The FCA industry review will look at whether people locked
into some 30 million pension and other savings plans sold by
insurance firms in the 30 years after 1970 are treated fairly
compared with new clients.
(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Sophie Hares)