The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made a statement highlighting that it is “committed” to carrying out enforcement cases more quickly as the organisation seeks to increase the deterrent impact of its enforcement actions. 

In the future the FCA will focus on a streamlined portfolio of cases, aligned to its strategic priorities where it can deliver the greatest impact. The FCA will also close those cases where no outcome is achievable, more quickly. 

As part of the new approach the FCA has begun a consultation on plans to be more transparent when an enforcement investigation is opened. Under the plans the FCA will publish updates on investigations as appropriate and be open about when cases have been closed with no enforcement outcome. 

The moves are a step change from the current process where investigations are only announced in very limited circumstances. 

Commenting on this, FCA joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight, Therese Chambers, said: “By being more transparent when we open and close cases we can enhance public confidence by showing that we are on the case.  

“At the same time, we will amplify the deterrent impact of our work by enabling firms to understand the types of serious failings that can lead to an investigation, helping them to change their own behaviour more quickly. Greater transparency will also drive greater accountability for us as an enforcement agency.”  

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FCA joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight, Steve Smart, added: “Reducing and preventing serious harm is a cornerstone of our strategy. By delivering faster, targeted and transparent enforcement, we will reduce harm and deter others. We will also make greater use of our intervention powers to stop harm in real time.” 

Any decision to announce an investigation would be taken on a case-by-case basis and depend on a variety of factors which will indicate whether to do so is in the public interest. These include whether the announcement will protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system, reassure the public the FCA is taking appropriate action, or assist in any investigations.   

Announcing an investigation does not mean that the FCA has decided whether there has been misconduct or breaches of its requirements.  Investigations into individuals will be different and the FCA will not usually announce these types of investigations.