FCA in new attempt to reset the clock

FCA in new attempt to reset the clock

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released an updated mission statement in a bid to distance itself from its previous poor reputation.

The watchdog’s new approach seeks to rectify what FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey referred to as a “very sorry history” of financial crises left unnoticed, and proposes to forge a vastly different future for the watchdog.

The FCA replaced the FSA – the latter having been tarnished by the 2008 financial crisis – in 2013. But the new body had a rocky start to life, and former chief Martin Wheatley’s “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to regulation came into conflict with then-chancellor George Osborne.

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The regulator may now be attempting to plot a course between the hands-off FSA and what Mr Osborne regarded as an overly officious spell under Mr Wheatley.

However, Scott Gallacher, director and financial planner at wealth management firm Rowley Turton, believes the FCA’s issues remain deeply rooted in nature.

Mr Gallacher said: “We have a pretty good financial services market in the UK. Generally, we look after people, generally, people are not ripped-off, and yet the FCA has been through PPI mis-selling, pension mis-selling and, to some extent, has been asleep on its watch for a long time, [so] I’m not convinced that the new mission statement is going to change that.”

Having set transparency as one of its main priorities – a virtue that some claim has been absent – the mission statement promises to be more open “about the interventions” the FCA chooses to perform”.

Mr Gallacher said the regulator’s approach to transparency had improved in recent years, but added that complications following the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) may get in the way of those objectives.

He said: “Clients have gone from having a two or three-page statement from the provider, to having 20-page statements because of multiple fees, so while everything is technically clearer, it [is] more complicated for clients.”