Regulation  

FCA accused of using Brexit to bury bad news

FCA accused of using Brexit to bury bad news

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has accused the Financial Conduct Authority of burying bad news of a change to broker fees on Friday (24 June).

A handbook notice from the regulator explained amendments to fees and levies in 2016 to 2017, in order to fund its functions to meet statutory objectives.

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This includes funding for the Financial Ombudsman Service, Money Advice Service and Department of Works & Pensions for its Pension Wise service, as well as enabling the FCA to recover its pensions guidance costs from the designated guidance providers.

The instrument comes into force on 1 July, with feedback to be published in a separate policy statement.

An FCA spokesperson stated the explanation of the new fee structure would come tomorrow (30 June), with no firm able to see its fees currently, adding the statement put out on Friday did not confirm the fee rates, just that the board approved the charges policy.

The changes were consulted on back in April, with most advisers seeing a 1.6 per cent fall in costs, while the mortgages sub-class was landed with an increased funding requirement of 8.7 per cent, leading to a net increase of 7.1 per cent.

This meant the total FCA budget bill for lenders and brokers now stands at £36.8m, with the Ami calling for a proper explanation on the cost.

Today, Ami’s chief executive Robert Sinclair suggested the regulator “overtly” published the handbook update on its website “under the cover of Brexit” and without advising stakeholders.

Mr Sinclair said: “The FCA appears to care little for the organisations that fund it. It is no longer able to meet the simple repetitious timetable of fees consultations, as they appear too excited looking for competition issues in markets where little concerns exist.

“To slip this out on a busy news day smacks of all that is wrong with a too big to care regulator,” he argued, adding: “The sooner Andrew Bailey (the FCA’s new chief executive) arrives and gets a grip of the organisation the better.”

peter.walker@ft.com