FCA questions its purpose, priorities and objectives

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The FCA is to consult on producing mission statement in a bid to boost the public’s understanding of what does and its role within society.

The mission, revealed by chief executive Andrew Bailey at the regulator’s annual public meeting today, will include a proposal to be published in early autumn followed by a period of public consultation.

In his speech, Bailey said: “How to balance the duty of care towards consumers, the duty of responsibility of consumers for their decisions, the role of firms and the role of the regulator, is an inherently difficult question to which there will be many potential answers. It lies at the heart of the FCA’s mission. So far, I would say it has not been adequately answered.”

He adds: “This mission should also be the basis of answering a number of other very important questions which shape how the FCA operates. Among these I would highlight whether we should prioritise some consumers over others and how we would do this and the need to explain and justify how the FCA decides among its tools when it sees a need for action.”

Bailey also highlighted retirement planning as the “biggest single challenge” in the provision of financial services in the UK.

Speaking to press after the meeting, Bailey dismissed the idea working on a mission statement was a criticism of his predecessors.

He says: “The reason I am doing this is because conduct regulation is new, relatively speaking. There is not a laid down body of thinking that helps to guide it. If you look at the academic literature there is not a lot to draw on.”

Bailey added the mission was not related to an agenda about light or heavy-touch regulation.

He adds: “Whatever you think about the way I was appointed, I have got no agenda on that front, no different agenda from what Martin Wheatley had in that sense. It is about getting a coherent understanding and philosophical base of understanding what we do and how we choose what we do. You will not find it is a mission to introduce light-touch regulation.”