Govt: FCA must decide whether to publish board minutes

The Government has refused to bow to political pressure to take up Lord Turner’s recommendation that the FCA be required to publish its board minutes.

In November, FSA chairman Adair Turner told the TSC he was “quite favourable” to the idea of publishing minutes as long as the rule was not applied retrospectively.

In its report into the accountability of the FCA, the TSC backed publication of the regulator’s minutes after the idea was suggested by FSA chairman Adair Turner in a committee evidence session. In its report, the joint committee on the draft financial services bill said the FCA should be required to publish board minutes as well as those of bodies like the consumer and practitioner panels.

But in guidance on the financial services bill, published today, the Government says it should be for the board to decide.

It says: “While the Government endorses the joint committee’s view that the governance of the FCA should be as transparent as possible and appropriate, it is of the view that operational issues relating to transparency should, in the first instance, be a matter for the FCA board.”

While the board will not be forced by legislation to publish its minutes, the guidance suggests it could come under pressure if it decides not to do so. It says: “The Government notes the strong commitment to transparency made by witnesses to the joint committee on the draft financial services bill speaking on the subject of FCA governance and accountability.”

This bill could still change significantly as it goes through Parliament and MPs propose amendments.