When the Financial Conduct Authority replaces the Financial Services Authority on April 1st, a new regime begins, and it appears that the FCA will be working on the theory that ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Rather than taking enforcement action once an offence has already been committed, as the FSA has frequently done throughout its existence, the newly published business plan for the FCA says it will work with firms to ensure that their strategies are closely aligned with positive customer outcomes throughout.
CEO designate of the FCA Martin Wheatley says: “There is no room for the poor behaviour of the past. We will take action early and decisively when we see evidence of poor practices.”
He adds, however, that the FCA cannot succeed in this aim “in isolation”, but will require the help of financial services providers and their customers, so that all parties remain vigilant at all times to the potential for mistreatment.
The scope of the FCA includes a responsibility to supervise conduct in around 26,000 financial industry firms across all relevant sectors, and 23,000 companies’ prudential standards who are not specifically regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority, which also comes into being on April 1st.