Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA contests claims it is 'slow to act'

FCA contests claims it is 'slow to act'

The Financial Conduct Authority has contested claims it is slow to act on issues in the industry, insisting instead its approach is "thoughtful, deliberate and careful".

The regulator has been on the receiving end of criticism in recent years over the time it takes to act on tip offs and information from the industry, including a number of concerns raised by its watchdog the Complaints Commissioner. 

In June last year the Complaints Commissioner highlighted a "lack of effective prompt action" by the financial regulator in a number of cases in which advisers and consumers reported concerns about a firm or fund.

In a separate instance last year it also asked the FCA to take "urgent steps" to ensure its supervisory staff understand the consequences of "inadequate investigation and insufficient follow-up" within its organisation. 

But speaking at the annual Dynamic Planner conference in London yesterday (February 5) Debbie Gupta, director of life insurance and financial advice at the FCA, defended the regulator. 

Ms Gupta said: "I often reply when people say the FCA is slow to act, I say we are not necessarily slow. We are just thoughtful, deliberate and careful.

"And that is absolutely the right way to respond to the challenges and produce considered, thorough and balanced work."

Ms Gupta said it was unique to the regulator that it sees "the very worst" of what is happening in the advice sector and the FCA was in a "very privileged position" in being able to share its experience. 

She added: "And part of all of us improving is to understand not only what really good looks like, but also to understand that we are operating in a sector where there is really bad as well. 

"That is not me standing here saying all of you are part of the problem. It is me standing here saying we are both trying to get this right and understanding what is bad is as important as understanding what is good." 

As part of its recommendations last year the Complaints Commissioner warned the FCA had failed to "learn lessons" from previous cases in which the regulator's customer contact centre had neglected to pass on information of a "supervisory" interest. 

He recommended the FCA takes urgent steps to ensure all its supervisory staff understand the consequences that inadequate investigation and insufficient follow-up can cause to consumers.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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