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ICAEW calls for independent FCA appeals process

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales is calling for the FCA to introduce an independent appeals process for regulatory decisions.

Speaking at the recent ICAEW wealth management conference in London, ICAEW financial planning and advice manager John Gaskell said firms should be judged by an independent organisation.

Firms and individuals can appeal to the regulatory decisions committee, and if they are still not satisfied, the Upper Tribunal. The RDC reports to the FCA board, and makes its initial decisions about a case based on the evidence presented by the regulator. Gaskell wants to create a body completely separate from the regulator.

He said: “There should be clear penalties for non-compliance but there should also be a right of appeal against regulatory decisions to an independent body.”

Gaskell also hit out at the record fines dished out by the FCA last year, claiming it represents regulatory failure whilst arguing that excessive regulation harms consumers.

He said: “If there is a need for enforcement action it represents regulatory failure, not success so I would argue large fines are a reflection of FCA failure.

“Regarding the impact of regulation on business, regulations which make it difficult for firms to earn a commercial rate of return will undermine their viability over the longer term. Excessive consumer protection is likely to lead to reduced choice and higher prices for consumers.”

Telos Solutions director Richard Farr says: “An independent body would be nice but it would be an awful lot of energy and cost when there is already the Complaint’s Commissioner, which is separate from the FCA, as the last line of defence.”

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