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FSA wants to extend time limits to investigate approved persons

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The FSA wants to extend its three-year time limit for taking disciplinary action against approved persons.

In written evidence to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, published last week, the FSA urges MPs to extend the length of time it has to investigate individuals.

Currently the FSA must fine, censure or suspend an individual within three years of discovering misconduct. There are currently no time limits forthe FSA to investigate authorised firms or in enforcement cases for market abuse.

The FSA submission states: “There is a strong case for reviewing the time limitation period for taking action against approved persons.

“Our experience has been that three years is likely to be insufficient time for the Financial Conduct Authority to determine whether there is a case to answer in complex investigations, which is often the case when bringing an action against a senior manager of a large firm.

“Given that senior managers are responsible for the conduct of their firms it is not clear why they should benefit from a limitation period for action particularly when cases are often more difficult to bring against individuals than they are to bring against firms.”

The regulator has already called for wide-ranging changes to the approved persons regime such as the ability to suspend individuals under investigation.

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “For an individual to be under the cosh for so long is very stressful if they are innocent. There needs to be a finite limit and three years seems long enough. If it is serious the FSA can use more resources and if it is not there is no need to string someone along.”


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