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The FSA Handbook is an essential document. It sets out the rules that firms are required to follow in order to meet their regulatory responsibilities. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to make the Handbook as accessible as possible so that firms and individuals are in no doubt as to what is required of them. It was inevitable when merging 10 quite different regulatory regimes into one in time for N2 in December 2001, that the Handbook might become difficult to navigate especially for the smaller and middle sized firms that do not have the scale to invest in large compliance or legal departments.

We are committed to reviewing how we can make the Handbook more accessible to firms and to considering routes for making the rules and guidance more user-friendly. A start has already been made. We have improved the online and CD-ROM Handbook by substantially enhancing its navigation capability and functionality and we support initiatives from industry bodies designed to improve knowledge and awareness of our objectives.

The FSA Annual Report 2002/03 promised that we would prepare a signposting guide to our Handbook for IFAs. "Using the FSAHandbook: an overview for small IFA firms" is the result and we hope that it will help such firms to focus on the rules that apply to them. We have called it an overview to emphasise it is a navigational aid and not a substitute for the Handbook and that the Handbook takes precedence.

We welcome your feedback on the content and presentation of the overview and whether you find it helpful. Comments may be sent to [email address]

John Tiner

Chief Executive