FCA told to review how it records meetings with firms

FCA told to review how it records meetings with firms

The Financial Conduct Authority has been told to review how it records significant meetings following a complaint.

A non-executive chairman of a firm complained to the Financial Services Complaints Commissioner after they were removed by the board.

They claimed the FCA’s enforcement process had taken too long, had been “potentially vindictive” and had been too reliant on “off the record” meetings with the chief executive.

The chairman claimed the FCA failed to understand the beneficial changes which had taken place at the firm which was an example of “bad regulation”.

In response Antony Townsend, the commissioner, said he agreed with the FCA that it was a matter for the firm to decide who its point of contact would be.

But he said: “I note that the FCA’s record of the meeting with you and the CEO on 25 November 2015 was held only in handwritten form in notebooks and was not typed up until requested by me as part of my review – on the grounds that the handwritten notes were hard to decipher.

“In my view this is poor practice and I am not persuaded by the FCA’s explanation that it is justified because it would impede progress if investigators had to type notes of every meeting/call they made.

“The dangers of not doing so - loss of information due to the passage of time, unclear handwriting, staff turnover and faded memories - are readily apparent.

“In my view this practice is not acceptable and I recommend that the FCA should review its approach and ensure that all significant meetings are adequately recorded in electronic form as soon as possible after they have occurred.”

Mr Townsend, who upheld the complaint only in part, told the FCA to apologise for failing to address part of the complaint and pay £75 in redress.

He also told the regulator to review its practice on the electronic recording of significant meetings.