The UK's Financial Services Authority has appointed Deloitte to conduct research among regulated companies into the cost of compliance with financial regulation.
The UK watchdog hopes to establish the full cost to financial firms of compliance with regulation under the Financial Services and Markets Act.
The FSA says the aim of the research is to identify those costs that are incurred solely as a result of the Act and those that firms would still incur even if this regulation were not in place. Investment banks, life and pensions companies and institutional fund managers will be invited to attend workshops, asked to provide returns, and be interviewed by Deloitte staff.
Once the methodology is established, it may be extended to other sectors in further projects, says the regulator.
The FSA has been under fire from financial sector firms, who have charged the watchdog with taking an overly-prescriptive approach to compliance and of failing to fight the UK's corner in stemming the tide of European regulations.
The FSA believes it is the first financial services regulator to undertake empirical research into compliance costs. The completed study will be published towards the end of the year.