FCA fee rise to meet extra work burden – Wheatley

FCA fee rise to meet extra work burden – Wheatley

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley has said the reason advisers are having to pay increasing fees towards its running costs is because the regulator is being given more work to do.

Speaking at the FCA annual public meeting last week, Mr Wheatley, who will stand down from the watchdog in September, said the government had told his staff to regulate more areas without removing responsibilities.

At the same event, Mr Wheatley, who was making his first public appearance since he announced his departure from the FCA, said he was “disappointed” to be leaving the regulator.

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He said: “Frankly, I am disappointed to be moving on, and do so with a sense of unfinished business.”

He said: “Since the financial crisis there has been a lot of change in regulation. A lot of change that impacts us directly and impacts regulated entities, changes to introduce the senior manager regime and changes to bring more activities within the scope of regulation.

“It has not yet been the case that we have been asked to stop doing things. All the requests we have received are additive responsibilities to the existing FCA responsibilites.

“I try as hard as possible to manage the organisation in a way that doesn’t push those costs directly back onto the industry, but inevitably we cannot absorb all that cost without there being some knock-on impact.

“We hope those increase in costs are managed well. But ultimately it is a cost to the industry, and we have to make sure we are responsible in the way we build up the additional resources we need to take on the additional tasks.”

Lord Deben (John Gummer), the chairman of Apfa, has recently written to the FCA questioning the regulator’s competence over its inability to live within a level budget.

The letter was in response to the FCA’s announcement of a fee increase of almost 6 per cent which, combined with the increasing FSCS levy, means advisers will see overall fees rise by 10 per cent.

Adviser view

Alistair Cunningham, a chartered financial planner with Surrey-based Wingate Financial Planning, said: “I don’t have an issue with them looking into more things because the world we live in needs a strong regulator, but if they need more money they should be seeking it from those who are most likely to be offenders.”

Right to reply

A Treasury spokesman said: “The government is clear that we need a tough and independent financial conduct regulator to protect consumers from any sharp practice in the financial services industry.

“That’s why we created the FCA, and gave it strong powers to take action wherever its rules are breached.”