Financial Conduct Authority  

Bailey: FCA mission is not about picking sides

Bailey: FCA mission is not about picking sides

The chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has said its new mission statement is not about changing the way it regulates, or picking sides in a competition between firms and consumers.

Speaking to the press this morning Andrew Bailey said the mission would provide clarity on what the FCA already does.

He said: “This is not about repositioning ourselves, about being more pro-firm or more pro-consumer.

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“It is about explaining what we do and how we do it. We have not written it to reposition the FCA.”

Mr Bailey added that the document’s publication was not about distancing the regulator from his predecessor Martin Wheatley, who famously said he would “shoot first and ask questions later”.

He said: “There is some debate about exactly what context the remark was made in. I don’t think one can conduct regulation like that and I don’t think Martin meant it like that.”

But Mr Bailey did say the creation of a mission for the FCA could help prevent it from swinging between under-regulating and over-regulating the sector.

He said: “If you look at the sweep of history, there was of course a cycle of regulation. There was the light-touch pre-crisis and a change post-crisis.

“One of the things that I think is most important is that we get a stable institutional structure of regulation in this country.

“It just is not good for the system that we go through these abrupt changes in regulation.”

Mr Bailey announced plans for a mission in his first month at the regulator, making the announcement to the FCA’s annual public meeting.

The document lists eight themes which the regulator will be consulting on, and expands on its proposed approach.

Among these is protecting consumers, with the FCA saying there is a need to achieve a "balance of responsibility" between consumers and firms.

Kevin Morgan, managing director of Hertfordshire-based Consilium Financial Planning, said: "In an industry which exhorts transparency then it should come from the very top. The FCA should set an example and be completely open and transparent.

"I would like to see a little more emphasis on the responsibilities of the consumer without watering down their protections, but the vast majority of scams are non-regulated. By and large those that are regulated are playing it with a straight bat."

The FCA is consulting on the mission document until 26 January and can be contacted by emailing fcamission@fca.org.uk.