FCA to streamline decision-making process

The FCA has proposed changes to its decision making process, which it is hoped will speed up decisions and lead to improvements in how the regulator tackles firms and individuals who do not meet the required standards.

The FCA is consulting on moving some decision-making from its Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) to its authorisations, supervision and enforcement divisions. This will give greater responsibility for decisions to senior members of FCA staff close to the matters, the regulator said.

The move comes as part of the FCA’s transformation programmes, which is aimed at becoming a “more innovative, assertive and adaptive” regulator.

The changes proposed will involve streamlining the FCA decision-making and governance so it can move more quickly to stop and prevent harm faster.

Emily Shepperd, executive director of authorisations at the FCA, said:“The proposed changes will allow us to be more efficient by making best use of the breadth of expertise across the FCA and by putting certain decisions back to the subject matter experts.

“As a result of that there will be greater accountability in those areas. The changes will help to increase the speed and reduce the regulatory costs of dealing with firms and individuals that fail to meet the FCA standards”, she added.

Shepperd explained that as part of the regulator’s transformation it would continue to “take a fresh approach” to tackling 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,” she added.

The RDC is a committee of the FCA Board. At present it takes certain decisions on behalf of the FCA. The consultation is proposing that certain decisions will now be made by FCA staff including: 

imposing a requirement on a firm or varying its permissions by limiting or removing certain types of business;

making a final decision in relation to a firm’s application for authorisation or an individual’s approval that has been challenged;

The decision to take action, after the action is challenged by the firm, in removing a firm’s permissions because a firm does not meet the FCA’s regulatory requirements;

the decision to start commencing civil and/or criminal proceedings.

Certain decisions will be retained by the RDC including in relation to contentious enforcement cases, where the FCA is proposing a disciplinary sanction or seeking to impose a prohibition order.

The consultation closes on 17 September 2021. Following this consultation, the FCA will consider the feedback and aims to publish a Policy Statement in or around November 2021.

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