When the dust has settled on the Davis review’s extraordinary critique of the FCA there will be two clear winners. The most obvious one will be the UK’s vital but beleaguered financial services industry.
City executives are sick to death of being publicly pilloried, not just by the media and politicians who they expect it from, but by the body they have to account to. It’s no fun when you can’t fight back. So they will doubtless welcome the conclusion that the FCA had put the pursuit of a quick headline ahead of the abstemious business of regulation.
However, there is another group of people that will be empowered – the FCA’s sometimes overlooked statutory panels. The idea for the Panels was born in an amendment to the original FSMA as it made its way through the House of Lords. This was the product of an age that valued learned consultation.
The new regulator, so peers thought, could benefit from the senior counsel of a group of in-house experts on consumer and practitioner matters. Bound by the FSA’s rules on confidentiality, these could provide a useful sounding board for the regulator’s views, aims and actions. Crucially, it was a safe place to sanity-check decisions and explore ideas.
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