FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says the regulator is focusing its attention on wider markets rather than “picking off firms one by one”.
In a speech at the ICI Global trading and market structure conference this week, Wheatley said the regulator’s announcements around asset management in recent months are a “bell-wether” of FCA direction for 2014 and beyond.
Last month the regulator launched a thematic review into dealing commission and bundled charging in the fund management industry.
Wheatley said: “If you are looking for a useful bell-wether of FCA direction, this is it: a more probing analysis of culture and ethics versus rules. A more assertive focus on wider markets as opposed to picking off individual firms one by one.
“A greater inclination to step in early, rather than wait for problems to scale up and become less manageable.”
He said improving standards in the asset management industry is becoming increasingly important as other nations such as Singapore and Hong Kong “cleanse their own operations.”
He said: “This is not something for the UK to fear. It is something for us to lead.”
Wheatley added 2014 will be “an important period of consolidation”.
He said: “It will be less ‘exciting’ maybe than previous years – but also a platform to bed in regulatory change.
“It should be increasingly focused on the delivery of standards that will allow us to begin to turn the page on a very difficult chapter in financial history.”
Evolve Financial Planning director Jason Witcombe says: “The asset management industry is going through a huge transition process as the changes wrought by the RDR bed in, and I hope it is not overburdened with further regulation before that process is complete.”