Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA still battling trust issues

FCA still battling trust issues

The Financial Conduct Authority is still dealing with a lack of trust in the regulator born in the global financial crisis, its chief executive has warned.

Delivering his speech to the city at Mansion House in London last night (October 24) Andrew Bailey said the financial crash of 2008 had fuelled a breakdown of trust in regulators and the FCA was still dealing with the fallout. 

The watchdog boss admitted some of the criticism faced by the regulator was "justified" in the face of growing demands for "stronger and faster" intervention by the public and industry. 

Mr Bailey said: "We can point to very big achievements at the FCA in recent years – our work on high cost credit in its various forms being a well known example. But part of the criticism we face is justified.  

"We should improve our efficiency – which, again turning to the FCA, is why we want to make a major investment in data analytics to give our staff more effective tools to do the job."

The regulator has recently bolstered its complaints handling team after facing criticism from the Complaints Commissioner over delays in dealing with consumers' concerns. 

The number of complaints submitted to the FCA almost doubled in the last financial year to 1,075 complaints, a "significant" increase of 92 per cent on the 557 received in 2017/18.

Last night Mr Bailey moved to partially defend the regulator's work to intervene on issues in the market, stating it was striking a "balance" between risk taking and consumer protection.

He said: "What are the boundaries for this risk taking and when should the regulator intervene, and with what consequences? This is much debated, rightly so given the changes that have occurred."

He added: "But, and contrary to the implication of some commentary on what the FCA should do that I read, we want to foster an environment in which risk taking occurs.

"Part of our role is to facilitate investment in the economy to support jobs and the livelihoods of people in this country. Innovation and start-ups are an important part of that activity.

"We cannot therefore hold to a standard where people do not lose money and where the value of assets does not decline. Investing is inherently risky."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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