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Every year, thousands of individuals and businesses use independent foreign exchange brokers to transfer their funds. The main benefits of using a broker include better exchange rates than the banks offer, and specialist knowledge that the banks lack. However, until now the industry has been largely unregulated, and many smaller firms have entered the market. It can be difficult for consumers to discern between a professional company with proper controls, and small start ups with little or no credentials.

In a move welcomed by consumers and industry alike, the FSA are to become the regulators of the money transfer market from November 2009. All money transmitters will be required to register with the FSA, and companies transferring more the 3 million euros per month will need to seek authorisation. This will require "fit and proper" tests on owners and directors, as well as a detailed application process that includes close financial scrutiny. Perhaps of even...

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