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Regulatory experts slam FSA bid for suspension powers

FSA Sky 480

Aifa and regulatory experts have hit out at the FSA’s push for new powers under the Financial Conduct Authority to suspend approved persons during ongoing enforcement investigations.

The FSA argued for the power in its submission to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking standards, published last week.

Aifa policy director Chris Hannant says: “It smacks of guilty until proven innocent. How much damage does the FCA want to do to businesses before it has reached any conclusions?”

Foot Anstey partner Alan Hughes says: “The FSA has not properly used the powers it has when investigating firms and individuals in the past, indicating its competence is not up to scratch. I am not sure giving it more powers is the right way to deal with that.”

Former FSA head of retail policy David Severn says: “There is the potential for abuse so a very powerful external check is needed if the regulator gets this power.”

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  1. The real concern is, if it gets these new powers, that the FCA will use them without first having to refer to any outside authority. The police, for example, must obtain permission from a judge before tapping the phone lines of a suspected criminal and demonstrate just cause for wishing to do so. Should not the FCA be subject to a similar system of checks and balances before it suspends someone suspected but not yet proven of some sort of regulatory malfeasance? If not, this will reinforce the common accusation that the regulator is a law unto its own self.

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