Number of FCA attestations rises

Number of FCA attestations rises

There has been a steep rise in the number of attestations which the FCA has requested over the course of the 2014/15 tax year, figures have revealed.

Over the course of the year the City watchdog asked for 74 attestations, which are used to get a personal commitment from an approved person that specific action has been or will be taken.

But 38 of these were in the last quarter of the year, with most of these coming from wholesale and investment management.

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The FCA also carried out 15 skilled person reviews in the last quarter of 2014/15, or 54 over the course of the year.

David Heffron, head of financial regulation at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “The number of attestations sought in the last quarter is striking, and particularly that 27 of that 38 were from wholesale firms.

“The fact that there is a clear focus around wholesale firms is not surprising. The FCA very clearly stated in its 2014 /15 business plan that it would increase the intensity with which it would supervise wholesale conduct, identifying issues such as conflicts of interest and market integrity.

“We expect that position to continue in 2015/16, the FCA having confirmed in this year’s business plan that it will continue the work it had started in wholesale markets.”

Skilled person reviews are used to get an independent view of aspects of a firm’s activities that may concern the regulator.

The FCA requested the highest number of them – 17 – for consumer credit firms, including credit broking, debt collection and debt management firms.

Earlier this month the FCA concluded a consultation into changes to the approved persons regime as part of the Solvency II directive.

These changes are aimed at making sure that structures within insurance firms are subject to the incoming EU regulations.

The FCA was asked to comment on the increase in attestations but did not respond.

Adviser view

Gary Dunn, a Lancashire-based adviser with True Potential Wealth Management, said: “I understand that you have got to have regulation, but they are requiring more and more from advisers, and there should come a time when they should just allow us to provide goal-based advice on the client’s agenda.”