Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA told to record calls with firms

FCA told to record calls with firms

The Financial Conduct Authority should consider recording telephone calls between its supervision team and firms so any disputes can be traced back, the regulator's watchdog has said. 

In a report published on its website yesterday (August 6) the Complaints Commissioner said it was a concern that the regulator kept no record of "important" conversations which can lead to decisions about a company's activities and any supervisory action.

The comments were made in response to a complaint made by the director of a firm which was subject to an investigation by the FCA, who claimed the regulator's supervision team had treated him unfairly.

He said this included emailing him outside of normal working hours, providing conflicting deadlines for responses to enquiries and placing a supervisor in a meeting with the enforcement team. 

The complainant also said he was unhappy with the length of time it took the FCA's enforcement team to complete its investigation into the firm's conduct. 

The supervision team was involved with the firm in question from June 2016 until a referral to the enforcement team in February 2017, following "serious concerns" about some of the company's activities and in relation to consumer protection.

But some details of the complaint could not be located by the regulator because the calls made by the supervision team to the firm were not recorded. 

Complaints commissioner Antony Townsend said: "I agree with you that it is of concern if there is no record of important conversations that lead to decisions about a firm’s activities and which will affect individuals and businesses.

"I recommend that the FCA considers whether it should take steps to record such calls."

Despite concerns from the complainant that they were put under "burdensome" pressure to respond to requests from the supervision team as part of its investigation, the commissioner sided with the regulator finding it had acted in the context of an "urgent situation and the staff member [at the FCA] managing their workload". 

Mr Townsend said: "The situation was fluid as the supervision team gathered information and there was a level of complexity and urgency involved, with different strands to their enquiries.

"The correspondence shows that the staff member was attentive to this and attempted to make the situation manageable for you."

He added: "I have concluded that the complaints team’s response, that the FCA’s supervision team dealt with you and this case fairly and professionally, was reasonable." 

rachel.addison@ft.com 

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