The regulatory decisions committee plays an important role in holding the FSA to account over its enforcement, authorisation and supervisory decisions. It is made up of 11 members from across the industry and includes lawyers, advisers and actuaries. It acts as a vital independent adjudicator of regulatory decisions which affect people’s livelihoods.
It is therefore a major worry that the proposed Consumer Protection and Markets Authority may not have an independent appeals committee, with concerns mounting that the RDC may be replaced by an appeal committee of CPMA executives.
The Treasury remains silent on the matter, although a number of bodies, including Aifa and the Financial Services Consumer Panel, have expressed worries that the new regulatory framework is moving in this direction. Scrapping this independent appeals process would be a truly retrograde step.
An independent appeals panel made up of individuals working in the industry is an essential check and balance to a powerful regulator who can remove an individual’s right to trade. For example, Money Marketing recently reported that the RDC had overturned the FSA’s decision to deny reauthorisation to a former Park Row adviser.
Lawyers suggest other advisers have had bans or authorisation refusals overturned by a committee which is far more in tune with the realities of working in the industry. It cannot be right that the independent appeals committee is scrapped and the new regulator is made the judge, jury and executioner.