The UK’s financial regulator The FCA plans to use the media as another weapon against violators.
UK’s financial regulator The FCA (formerly FSA) was given more powers under the UK’s Financial Services Act of 2012, and now it has informed the public that it intends to use them. The FCA plans to publish, much earlier in the process, information about certain enforcement actions.
What does this mean?
Until now, the FCA had to be well down the road in proving the guilt of an individual or regulated company (or nearing a settlement) accused of violating FCA rules before letting the public know that someone was under investigation. Now, the FCA will be able to publicize that investigations are under way, even naming the investigated party, much earlier in the process.
The FCA claims that this will result in earlier transparency of enforcement proceedings. What is really means, however, is that the FCA now has a very serious new weapon in both preventing and fighting financial crime — the media. The media is one of the regulator’s most powerful tools in rooting out violators. Now, companies and individuals know that their names will get in the press, in a very negative way, if they cross the FCA.
The result? Probably a lot more early settlements of suspected wrongdoing, like we see in the U.S.
To see the FCA’s new guidelines on enforcement warning notices click here.