The enforcement decisions committee of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has seen a rise in new cases in the last financial year, driven by an increase in firms failing to file returns or pay fees.
The FCA's Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC), which is the final stage of decision-making for some of the FCA's enforcement action, including warning and decision notices, saw the number of new cases rise 14.2 per cent in the year.
In the 2017/2018 financial year, the RDC opened 508 new cases, compared with 445 cases in 2016/2017, according to the FCA’s annual report and accounts, published yesterday (19 July).
The RDC is a separate team from the rest of the FCA, and is responsible for the final decision-making on matters surrounding cancelling permissions and registrations, prohibitions, issuing financial penalties, and withdrawing approvals.
It issues decision notices and supervisory notices as well as prohibitions, fines and suspensions.
Tim Parkes, chair of the RDC, said it had been "another busy year" for the unit, and that the majority of the workload had come from referrals from the FCA’s enforcement and market oversight division.
He said: "They ranged from complex cases involving allegations of very serious misconduct to cases where firms or individuals had failed to submit returns or pay fees due to the authority.
"We also dealt with a number of contested cases which came to us from the FCA’s authorisations and supervision divisions."
Dylan Jones, managing director and founder of the Premier Pensions & Tax Consultancy, commended the FCA on ramping up its enforcement action, saying this was good news for the industry.
He said: "It is encouraging that they are tackling cases and taking action to remove firms from authorisation where needed - the more of that, the better.
"There are still too many instances where firms are giving advice where they shouldn’t and this gives the industry a terrible name."