BioWare’s a forward-thinking company, which is why you won’t be able to take a character through Mass Effect 2 then start the game again with your experienced chap, equipment at all. You could do this in the first game.
Continuity’s the key. Mass Effect lead designer Preston Watamaniuk talking on the official forums:
“After finishing ME2 can I take my character and restart a new playthrough preserving that characters gear and abilities.”
The short answer is no.
The reason is progression. We have been working very hard to make sure we design the abilities system to offer smooth progression into ME3 from ME2. Allowing double progression on characters makes that almost impossible. We have to have reasonable knowledge about where a character could end up finishing all content on a playthrough. We also want to offer choice of character build within specific classes.
We replaced that feature with playing after you were done because it preserves progression and allows for smoother downloading of PRC.
Mass Effect 2 ships early next year.