Opinion  

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Kevin White

Much as I would love to write a whole blog on The Who’s mould shattering album Who’s Next, and the crazy antics of their dearly departed drummer Keith Moon, I can’t. As ftadviser.com has a slightly different editorial stance to the NME, I’ll have to talk about another dearly departed institution, the FSA.

I attended the erstwhile regulator’s final annual general meeting this week. We heard about how the FSA dealt with the financial crisis, the amount of penalties it dished out, and how it changed tack post-crisis to a more interventionist, some would say almost FCA-type approach in its final months.

The small matter of the RDR was also mentioned, along with the ongoing review into what exactly went wrong at HBoS, we’re still waiting for that one, and we heard about the work now being undertaken by the PRA and FCA to ensure more accountability and proactivity in protecting the consumer.

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But quite a few of the audience - drawn from all parts of the social spectrum, remained unconvinced of the former regulator’s achievements, “talking of a failure of the FSA”, and a lack of faith that its successor the FCA will better it in its role of protecting the consumer.

The nature of my job means I speak to advisers and others in financial services every day. A lot of them moan about the regulator, and the regulatory difficulties they face.

But I’m beginning to think they are not the only ones that need convincing, maybe the general public are equally as cynical about the regulator as well, if they have even heard of it, and perhaps that is one of its biggest challenges as it seeks to build confidence in the financial services industry.