Editor’s comment of the week: Making more rules doesn’t end misconduct
Misconduct is perpetrated by people who ignore the rules and have little time for ethics. Adding more rules just gives more cover to these people and makes it more difficult for those trying to do the right thing.
Oh, and it exponentially increases costs for clients too – don’t forget they pay for regulation.
It’s much easier to write new rules to ‘make things better’ than to devote extra resources to catching and removing the miscreants before things get out of hand. It’s great to see the FCA using its intervention powers over CoCos and that gives some hope for the future. But will they be prepared to intervene where a finer judgement is required?
PPI is a great example of a situation where everyone, including the regulator, knew there was a problem as early as 2004, but it was allowed to perpetuate for many years before action was taken. Could that happen again?
The recent comment by FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones (pictured) that “less is more” when it comes to regulatory rules is good news in terms of recognising the issue. It’s a much bigger step to start putting it right.
If there’s one thing we have learned from all the past crises, it’s that it is far more important to governments and politicians to be seen to do something than do the right thing. We will see if anything comes of this, but let’s not get too excited – after all, regulators are human too.