Another day, another consultation...

Samantha Downes

Samantha Downes

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Andrew Bailey wants to break with the past.

Outlining his vision for what he claimed is a “radically different” future for financial services regulation, the FCA chief executive said consumers had been failed all too often – from the financial crisis, to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and interest rate hedging products to Libor rigging.

The FCA’s mission, launched last week, had some ambitious aims; but then most consultation papers nearly always have very grand remits?

He called for “input from as many parties as possible”.

Most people who work in financial services have nothing but respect for the end client, but as we know all too well it only takes a few individuals taking unwarranted risks with money to cause massive mis-selling or financial scandals.

The reality is the FCA does not really need to regulate more. The fact that it can put out a paper like this demonstrates that maybe there are people there with too much time on their hands.

So - here's a suggestion.  Instead of thinking up new ways of keeping its staff busy, the FCA should be putting its resources into preventing what readers of this newspaper will no doubt see as very real and present threats to the financial health of this nation.

For example, property prices. Rising prices have led borrowers to take out unaffordable loans – many are also on interest-only deals. What happens when rates rise? Maybe lenders advisers and the FCA should be looking at this.

Then there appears to be the large number of people accessing pension freedoms without taking any advice – at all, or the large numbers of young people who cannot even afford to put money into a pension because they are so poorly paid.

More regulation, or even tinkering, will not solve these issues. In fact, it could make them worse. 

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