The FCA has considered bringing forward its review of closed book policies and the fair treatment of customers following the furore over its media briefing on the review.
In March, the Daily Telegraph reported the FCA was set to force insurers to review exit charges on all their legacy policies as part of a closed book investigation. Insurers’ share prices plummeted in the six hours it took the FCA to release a clarification statement on the scope of the review. The FCA issued a further statement later the same day to say it would carry out an investigation into its handling of the matter.
Clifford Chance senior commercial litigation partner Simon Davis has since been appointed to carry out the inquiry.
Minutes from an emergency board meeting on the review held on 31 March, published today, reveal the board agreed to consider the timing of the review in light of market developments.
The minutes say it agreed to consider in particular “whether bringing it forward would help to reduce market uncertainty about the conclusions”.
A spokeswoman for the FCA refused to comment on whether bringing the review forward is still under consideration.
In a further board meeting on 4 April, FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley told board members he had ensured all staff had been reminded of their responsibilities regarding sensitive information, and that the approach to training staff on these responsibilities was reviewed.
It was also proposed the services of an external press relations firm be used to provide the non-executive directors with any independent advice they may require.
Wheatley said that in normal circumstances, a review would have been undertaken to assess whether any changes were required.
But he said that given the risk this might prejudice any external review, any work would be deferred until Clifford Chance had completed its initial field work.