The FCA was right to issue a firm with a fine for filing its regulatory returns late, an adjudicator has ruled, after the firm complained that it was not told that its submission was due.
Firms are charged a £250 late administration fee if they fail to submit their Gabriel return on time. A firm took a complaint to the Complaints Commissioner in September after being charged, arguing that it did not receive an email that it had to submit its return.
The firm was also unhappy that the FCA thought that because the email did not bounce, this was proof it had been received.
According to the FCA’s records, it sent a welcome email to the complainant’s personal address to remind them to register for Gabriel when they received authorisation, and then two emails to the firm’s address to remind it to submit its return ahead of the due date.
However, the complainant said that the firm address was monitored only by junior staff members, who might not “understand the significance of an email from the FCA or the importance of Gabriel.”
The complainant also questioned why the follow up emails were sent to a different address.
Complaints Commissioner Antony Townsend has ruled in favour of the FCA, however.
He says: “It seems to me that the FCA took reasonable steps to remind you of your obligations, and had no reason to believe that you had not received those reminders. Furthermore, you had been alerted to the need to register on the FCA’s reporting system, and to submit regular returns, at the time you applied for authorisation.
“The late returns fee is designed to cover the FCA’s costs in pursuing late returns (so that firms who complete their returns on time do not subsidise those which do not), and in the circumstances, I think it was reasonable for the FCA to charge you.”