In my recent Financial Adviser article, Save Trees and Cut Down on Consultation Papers, I strongly criticised the torrent of regulatory papers the FCA has issued this year. I am therefore delighted that the FCA’s Mission Statement echoed many of the same sentiments, though perhaps in less dramatic terms.
Andrew Bailey seems to have swiftly grasped the absolutely key point that the present regulation is overly complicated and unnecessarily heavy handed. There is an unreasonable amount of regulation for any firm to have to absorb while simultaneously running its business and looking after clients in a manner that is commercially viable.
It was always maintained that it was not the FSA or FCA's role to be economic regulators, but, given the way regulation has grown over the past few years, it is impossible for it not to have a significant detrimental economic impact on regulated firms and their clients.
This is good news for both regulated firms and consumers, as the recognition that there needs to be the promotion of competition in the interest of consumers is critically important to a healthy and competitive commercial environment.
Introducing the statement, Mr Bailey also implied that the FCA wishes to change the way in which it is itself perceived. While there is no getting away from the fact that it is the regulator who implements and monitors policy, I welcome the acknowledgement that the objectives mentioned are shared by the majority in the industry and that, when it comes to positive consumer outcomes, we are all on the same team.
While some might pessimistically point out that we have, over the years, had many grand pronouncements by the regulators that have come to nothing, I choose to optimistically believe that Mr Bailey’s commitment to a "radically different” approach to regulation may produce a regime that is more efficient and more fair to all.
Indeed, I go as far as to dare to hope that at long last we may see the green shoots of the much heralded and badly needed "regulatory dividend".