Financial Conduct Authority  

Concerns raised over changes to FCA decision making

Shepherd added: “As part of our transformation we will continue to take a fresh approach to tackle firms and individuals who do not meet the required standards. As part of this, we aim to become a forward looking, proactive regulator - one that is tough, assertive, confident, decisive and agile.”

Industry support

Adviser trade body Pimfa welcomed the FCA’s proposals, arguing they should make it a more “agile and proactive regulator.”

Simon Harrington, senior policy adviser at Pimfa, said: "We have been very clear – publicly and privately – that thriving retail markets depend on effective and proactive supervision of firms, which are either willingly or unknowingly introducing harm into the market.

"We believe that the proposals set out will make the regulator more efficient in its decision making and, provided that they are accompanied by improvements in identifying harm in the first place, lead to better outcomes for consumers."

David Savage, partner and head of financial crime at Stewarts, agreed as he said that in the past the FCA had been criticised for being reactive and taking too long to investigate wrongdoing in the regulated sector.  

“The proposed changes will be seen by many as a welcome development, particularly in circumstances in which the UK is now forging its own regulatory path,” he said. 

“By proposing to empower the authorisations, supervision and enforcement divisions to make on the ground decisions, it is to be hoped that the regulator will be proactive and streamlined, with authorisations and enforcement decisions communicated more promptly.  

“That said, in order for the proposals to work, the subject matter experts in the various divisions must feel supported within the FCA hierarchy and consistency of decision making will need to be scrutinised. I look forward to seeing the FCA take on a more forward looking and aggressive role.”

Ian Mason, partner and head of UK financial services regulatory team at law firm Gowling WLG, added the FCA's proposals represented a significant move towards decision-making on key regulatory issues by FCA executives, including decisions on authorisation. 

“Contentious enforcement decisions will still be taken by the RDC, and there will still be a right to challenge FCA decisions at the independent tribunal."

The consultation closes on September 17, 2021. Following this the FCA will consider the feedback and aims to publish a policy statement in November 2021.

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