BUY a policy from a British-based insurance company which is not authorised to sell its products in Hong Kong and you will have no access to Britain's consumer protection regulations. A spokesman for the Securities and Investment Board (SIB), which has overall control of Britain's financial regulators, said its jurisdiction only covered financial products and services sold in Britain. The SIB liaised with some overseas authorities but had no control over what British-based companies did outside Britain, he said. It could issue a warning if it considered British investors living overseas to be at risk but would only take such action in extreme cases. David Peffer, secretary for Britain's new Personal Investment Authority (PIA), said a consumer who bought a policy from an company in Britain knew the firm was operating with the approval of the authorities. ''The insurance products the company intends to sell must also have been passed by the Department of Trade and Industry,'' he said. ''[However], it would seem that none of these provisions would apply to a Hong Kong resident who buys a [British] insurance product''. The PIA, which was launched two months ago, has taken over the work previously done by the Financial Intermediaries and Brokers Regulatory Association (FIMBRA) and the Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation (LAUTRO). ''Our main goal is to protect the public and small investors by regulating companies,'' said Mr Peffer. Authorities in Britain have introduced several safety nets that allow the public to pursue complaints against financial institutions. The provisions include a complaints resolution system as well as a compensation arrangement.