The inquiry into the FCA’s bungled announcement of its review of closed book legacy business is a “blot on the landscape”, says FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones.
The regulator has appointed Clifford Chance senior commercial litigation partner Simon Davis to carry out an independent inquiry after insurers’ share prices plummeted following an FCA media briefing on the review in March.
Speaking at the FCA’s annual public meeting in London yesterday, Griffith-Jones said: “It is not pleasant to be subject to an inquiry – that is human nature.
“But we promised to be an open and transparent organisation and act to the same standards we expect of the firms we regulate. And the consequence of that is that if we make a mistake – and I am not saying we did – you are prepared to have someone look at it, and that is what we are doing.
“How are we feeling internally? Obviously it affects some people directly and they have been absolutely masterful in carrying on with their jobs as though this has not happened. The organisation is of very good heart and this is only a blot on the landscape, and one we are very anxious to get past.”
FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley added: “We have got a massive regulatory agenda and the one thing we cannot do at all is go into some sort of purdah while we wait for the outcome of this review.
“So for me it is absolutely business as usual.”
In March, the Daily Telegraph reported the FCA was set to force insurers to review exit charges on all their legacy policies as part of a closed book investigation. Insurers’ share prices plummeted in the six hours it took the FCA to release a clarification statement on the scope of the review.
The FCA issued a further statement later the same day to say it would carry out an investigation into its handling of the matter.