PA ANALYSIS: Bailey on a mission as FCA consults its A-team

Added 26th October 2016

The FCA today launched a consultation on its ‘future mission’, sounding more like something you would hear from the A-Team than the financial regulator.

PA ANALYSIS: Bailey on a mission as FCA consults its A-team

“If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them…” well, presumably Andrew Bailey and co would be your first port of call.

Nearly four months into his reign as chief executive, it makes sense for Bailey to lay out exactly what his intentions are, and to invite immediate feedback.

This starts with a 53-page consultation document and a speech tonight at Mansion House where he will explain how the FCA has “more tools” at its disposal than most other financial regulators in the world.

I shall refrain from revealing much more – at the risk of breaking an embargo - except to say the tools he is talking about concern competition powers, supervision and enforcement, rather than loaded Uzis and a stack of dynamite stashed in the back of a blacked-out GMC Vandura.

It has not been the smoothest path for the FCA since its formation from the ashes of the FSA in April 2013, with former head Martin Wheatley forced to quit in 2015 and acting head Tracey McDermott subsequently pulling out of the running for the top job earlier this year.

"Nearly four months into his reign as chief executive, it makes sense for Bailey to lay out exactly what his intentions are"

Add to this fresh criticism from think tank New City Agenda which accuses the FCA and PRA of “a deep-seated culture of box-ticking” at risk of “sleepwalking into the next financial crisis”, and the need for the regulator to flex its muscles is clear.

Saying that, trudging through the verboseness of any FCA publication is never easy, and today’s mission statement is predictably sparse on detail.

The emphasis on extra protection for consumers vulnerable to mis-selling is laudable, particularly in regards to debt-management companies, while there’s also extra brownie points for being clearer on tackling scandals involving Libor and foreign exchange trading.

From a wealth manager perspective, a possible ramp up in activities around the Senior Managers and Certification Regime is certainly something to keep close to.

Initially applicable to those in charge of banks, building societies and PRA-regulated firms, in the pipeline are intentions to expand the regime to all FSMA authorised persons.

Importantly, the FCA’s ‘mission’ is not yet finalised, so do take the opportunity to read the document and give your feedback before it puts its ideas into action. After all, don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? 

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Gary Shepherd

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Gary joined Last Word Media in 2009, becoming editor of Portfolio Adviser a year later. Previously, he worked at Incisive Media with roles across its Professional Adviser, Investment Week, Bloomberg Money and Mortgage Solutions titles. Gary has been shortlisted for various awards, winning Headline Money Investment Writer of the Year in 2010.

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