FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says he regrets using the phrase “shoot first ask questions later” to describe the regulator’s approach.
During a grilling from the Treasury select committee this morning on the Davis review of the FCA’s bungled media announcement on closed book policies, Wheatley argued the phrase had been “taken out of context”.
Wheatley famously made the comment in 2012 when describing the FCA’s new powers, such as publishing warning notices at an earlier stage and the power to ban risky products from being sold.
He said: “The key difference between the future and now, and forgive me for being scary in my use of analogy, is we are being given the power to shoot first and ask questions later.”
TSC chair Andrew Tyrie asked Wheatley whether there was anything to connect the closed book review debacle with the regulator’s “shoot first and ask questions later” approach.
Wheatley said: “We do not have a culture of shoot first ask questions later and that is not our supervisory approach.
“I regret using that phrase and it was used in response to a question about how the FCA’s early intervention powers would be used. It is a phrase that has been taken out of context and used too broadly.
“What I do not regret is that we have tried to be a regulator which is more on the front foot.”
Wheatley later admitted that in the “very early days” of it being established the FCA may have been too aggressive in its communications.
He said: “That is because we were a new regulator and we were trying to establish with the industry what we stood for.”